You may think it’s a bit odd to feature a Winter wedding smack bang in the middle of one of the hottest summer’s we’ve had for a zillion years, but we couldn’t hang on to this until Christmas, that would be just wrong, wrong, wrong. Here’s Laura and Andrew’s stunning contemporary Winter wedding.
Tell us about the proposal – how and where did it happen?
We had been together seven years and had spent the last four years living apart in different cities and even different countries. In March 2012, I was based in London and Andy was living in Bremen, Germany, and we were going back and forth visiting one another at weekends. The last weekend I went to visit before he returned to the UK for good he surprised me by taking me out on a lovely day out under the guise of making the most of our last weekend in Bremen.
We went to an art gallery, had lunch then took a long walk in the park where we came upon the stunning Park Hotel. Andy had booked a beautiful room full of flowers and Champagne with a balcony overlooking the lake. It was there he asked me to be his wife! There was a beautiful spa and we spent the evening swimming in an outdoor heated pool under the stars!
What was your first step in planning your wedding?
We decided we wanted a short engagement and booked a wedding just nine months later for December 2012, which meant we had to get cracking! It was really important for us to be married in the church back in Hinckley so once we pinned down our date there, looking for a reception venue was our next step.
We wanted a rustic, cosy feel and so looked for barn wedding venues in our area. We found Mythe Barn and it ticked lots of boxes. It was just a building site when we looked around but we completely trusted Joe and Joanna’s vision for it and booked right away!
What made you choose Mythe Barn?
We loved the old style barn but with all of the modern amenities. We could imagine all of our family and friends filling the dining room and partying hard on the dance floor so we were sure it was right for us!
Describe your wedding dress
I knew exactly the dress I was after. I had it exactly imagined in my head but after hours and days of hunting (sorry Mum!) it just didn’t exist in any shops! I then met with several dressmakers trying to bring my vision to life. Dana didn’t ask me what I wanted my dress to look like, but asked how I wanted to feel. She immediately just “got it” and designed the most gorgeous 30s inspired floor length dress covered in the most beautiful Chantilly lace. It was even better than I had imagined and an absolute dream to wear.
What accessories did you wear on the day?
My great grandma gave me a gorgeous creamy coloured string of pearls years ago that mean so much to me and I knew I wanted to wear them on my wedding day. I managed to find earrings to match and small gold and pearl hair grips that my hairdresser wove into my loose bun.
My shoes were Iris by Rachel Simpson and bought from Fur Coat No Knickers, a little bridal boutique in central London. They were pricey but an investment worth making as they were the comfiest shoes ever – I managed to keep them on all day and all night. They were put to good use on the dance floor!
What did the groom and groomsmen wear?
Finding a navy blue three-piece lounge suit to hire for eight men is no mean feat! But it was worth persevering and the suits we chose from Christopher Scotney were perfect. The material was a luxurious soft blended wool and set against crisp white shirts from T.M. Lewin. The wedding party wore blue silk ties and Andy wore a raw silk cranberry coloured tie. The buttonholes beautifully pulled all of the colours together.
Andy and his groomsmen all studied Aerospace Engineering at university and so when we spotted these little Lego spacemen cufflinks on Etsy, we knew they would make great gifts to wear on the day!
Tell us about your bridesmaids and their outfits
Our bridesmaids were my sisters, Sarah and Eloise, and Andy’s sister Laura. Sarah and Laura wore beautiful blue silk dresses from Coast and blue silk shoes that I had customised with small ivory pearls. Eloise was just 11 years old and we found a gorgeous ivory lace dress from Jenny Packham. Pearl necklaces on simple gold chains were just a small thank you keepsake for being such fabulous bridesmaids and looked stunning on all three of them.
What was your ceremony like?
Getting married at Holy Trinity church, Hinckley, was so important for both of us. I had grown up attending the church with my sister and my mum. Andy and I both knew the vicar, Tim, well from our visits back home over the seven years we had been together. It meant our service was personal and Tim’s sermon directly addressed the two of us and our relationship.
We had readings from Colossians 3:12-17 and an extract from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Wedding Sermon, 1943 and Tim spoke about the pressures our marriage would face and the characteristics we need to take on to sustain it. Our songs fit the message perfectly: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, King of Kings Majesty and In Christ Alone.
Tell us about your drinks reception and wedding breakfast
Many people joined us for our church service so we served mince pies and mulled wine from beautiful crystal glassware hired from Vintage Wedding Party. Mythe Barn served miniature savory pies as canapés and Winter Pimm’s to warm up our guests on arrival. We then sat down to a delicious British themed three course meal starting with a confit duck leg terrine with port and Cumberland jelly, locally sourced bangers and mash followed by a spiced apple, pear and winter berry crumble with warm vanilla bean custard. Delicious!
How did personalize your big day?
We wanted to avoid as many of the Winter wedding clichés as possible and chose a theme of cranberry red and navy blue with lots of beautiful crisp white. Red, white and blue felt particularly right for us bringing together our British and American roots and 2012 was such a memorable year for Britain that we felt we should be a little patriotic too!
The flowers were one of the first choices that we made and the colours guided lots of our other decisions. Karen at Jilly flowers created gorgeous bouquets of ivory avalanche roses, red hypericum and dark blue berries set off with beautifully fragrant rosemary.
We wanted to hand make as many rustic elements of our day as possible from the decorations hanging from the beams in the barn, the millions of candle filled mason jars wrapped in pretty washi tape to create that pretty mood light to the hand crafted wooden centrepieces.
Our favours were personalized, pretty striped red and white candy canes – a little nod to the Christmassy time of year!
We also wanted to create a vintage feel so refashioned a little old leather suitcase for wedding cards.
We framed pictures of our grandparents’ wedding days so it felt like they were part of our day too. We even used a lace tablecloth that belonged to my great grandma.
We also knew when to leave it to the professionals! Tracy at Cotton and Crumbs did an amazing job with our cake. She beautifully captured the lace of my wedding dress in the icing, wrapped it with gorgeous blue silk ribbon - the colour of our bridesmaid dresses - and the topper was a personalised Etsy order that winged its way over from the US!
Did you use blogs or magazines for ideas?
I make scrapbooks for just about anything, so it was inevitable I was going to do the same for our wedding. We wanted to hand craft and personalize as many elements of our wedding as possible and so lots of blogs like Design*Sponge were invaluable for ideas and inspiration. I found lots of crafty ideas in Martha Stewart’s Weddings magazine.
Did you have a band or DJ for your evening reception?
Having a band was a key element for Andy. We have similar taste in music and knew what kind of vibe we were after, so Andy spent hours scouring for different options. When he played The Paramounts’ version of I’m A Believer we both knew they had to be our band. They were absolutely fantastic and even learnt a new song for our first dance – a beautiful acoustic version of Fly Me To The Moon. They had such energy and enthusiasm and had everyone up on the dance floor all night. It was such fun!
What were your wedding “must have’s”?
For us, the most important thing was creating a relaxed and fun atmosphere. This was the guiding principle for each of the decisions we made to create our special day.
How did you organise your wedding budget?
Our parents contributed generously to our wedding fund and we decided together what we wanted to spend the money on. The wedding venue was key as was getting the right photographer so large parts of our budget were spent on these. Andy is a whizz at Excel spreadsheets and kept us on the straight and narrow. I think we even came in a little under budget!
What was your biggest wedding splurge?
Our wedding venue was our biggest splurge but looking after our guests with fine food and fine wine was a priority!
What was your biggest wedding saving?
We saved some money by handcrafting a lot of elements for the day. But don’t underestimate how long and fiddly some of these things can be. It is just as important to know what to leave to the professionals!
How did you choose your photographer?
Choosing our wedding photographer was one of the easiest decisions we made. I found Theresa Furey’s work featured on a wedding blog. She had a beautiful reportage style that captured not just all of the little details but the mood of the day too. We immediately hit it off with her and knew she would make us feel completely comfortable on our big day, capturing real moments rather than lots of poses. We are absolutely delighted with the results and the pictures will serve as reminders of our day for years to come.
How did you choose your suppliers?
We wanted to use local suppliers as much as possible. Lots of them were found on blogs but others were already family friends who we knew would do an amazing job.
Based on your own experience, give us some top tips…
Do it together! I am real organiser and do-er but it was so important that it was day for the both of us. We took some time off work and did as much of it as we could together. It made the whole thing feel even more special for him, as he had been so involved. Ladies, let your men in on the planning, they may really surprise you!
“If we could do it all again, we’d…”
We are lucky enough to be doing it again! Our family from the USA couldn’t make the December wedding so we are having a big party with them in September this year back on my grandparents’ farm. So we get our barn feel all over again and plan to take lots of decorations along with us to recreate our wedding day. We can’t wait to celebrate again!
Did you go on a honeymoon?
We took off for Mexico to enjoy Christmas and New Year in the sun. It is a special place for both of us so going back for our honeymoon felt right. We stayed in a stunning hacienda and had amazing massages by Mayan women who had grown all of the ingredients that they used – the lavender, cocoa butter and even the honey from the bees they keep!
If you would like more information on holding your wedding at Mythe Barn, or to arrange a visit, please telephone 01827 217009 or email Isabel.