Anna and Paul’s wedding at Clock Barn was all about their love of the countryside and rural pursuits. Their stationery and decorations, including their inspired table centrepieces, were based around nature and reflected their love of the outdoors. Anna was in fact a barefoot bride for most of the day!
Tell us about the proposal – how and where did it happen?
Paul proposed on Christmas Eve 2010. We were staying in Cumbria in Paul’s childhood home. He took our son, Joseph, and me out on a quad bike up the snowy mountain just after lunch. We stopped to go sledging and he pulled me to one side near a gate, got down on one knee and with the Lake District and Lake Windermere behind us and asked the question - presenting a very large rock also! I of course said yes (we had been together over nine years and our son was three years old). A bottle of Champagne was then opened and drunk before heading home on the quad.
What was your first step in planning your wedding?
Having had my wedding planned since I was a little girl, I first brought folders and writing paper (in my colour scheme of green and cream) to finalise the planning. The first thing I booked was the wedding venue.
How did you search for a wedding venue?
I Googled ‘country weddings in Hampshire’ and Clock Barn was the only one for us.
What made you choose Clock Barn?
The fact that we could have both the civil ceremony and wedding reception in one place, it could cater for our large number of guests and that it was perfect for a countryside wedding. Paul didn’t see, let alone visit the wedding venue, until the day before.
Describe your wedding dress
Dress shopping was not something I was ‘feeling’…I was extremely selective with what I liked and didn’t like. I always imagined I would have a tight fitting lace cap sleeved dress. But after trying only four lace dresses, I changed my mind and went for a figure hugging silk/satin sweetheart neckline dress with a tie back and puddle train with tiara and veil.
I asked the dress shop to make a lot of alterations to the dress, such as remove all the under material, so I just had two very thin satin layers of dress (good job as it turned out to be the hottest day of that year so far). The train to be made small and shorter. The neckline had to be dipped a little more and more diamantes were sewn on the main body (actually that was a request from my mum). Not to mention the length being taken up and the sides being taken in - including the last time three days before the wedding! When I put it on in the shop it was amazing and on the day even more so! Everyone was so surprised to see the style I had gone for and assumed that I would have a big princess dress with lots of netting underneath.
What accessories did you wear on the day?
I wore a tiara with my hair curly and up with the veil underneath my hair bun. My lace small kitten heel shoes - that I wore for less than an hour, due to it being so hot on the day, were from Debut . The jewellery was a pearl choker style necklace and matching bracelet that Paul’s mum and I saw in an antique Jewelers when out shopping one day. I knew straight away that it was different, nothing that I had ever seen before and was most definitely my style.
What did the groom and ushers wear?
I chose all the groomsmen’s suits – colours and styles- they just turned up to be measured and try the suits on when they arrived.
Altogether, we had six ushers, a best man, my dad, Paul and Joseph. All the men had black standard suits. The ushers wore white waistcoats with mint green messy ties and handkerchiefs. The best man wore a Champagne waistcoat and mint green tie. Paul and my dad wore Champagne-coloured waistcoats and their ties were the offcuts from the maid of honor’s dress to match. We kept them afterwards.
All of the men wore black shoes apart from Paul who wore his brown brogues. I asked for all the men to not shave and to have a little bit of stubble. It was so hot on the day that the boys wore sunglasses for most of it, looking very ‘dapper’. Joseph wore a short-sleeved white shirt with waistcoat to match his dad's and his Pheasant tie. He also had sunglasses - orange ones!
Tell us about your bridesmaids and their outfits
My best friend Charlotte was maid of honor. Our children are the same age; we went to college together and then found each other four years later, both pregnant at the same time. Her youngest and Joseph were born within a week of each other. A distant cousin from Paul’s Side from Cumbria, Charlie; Georgina, Charlotte’s middle daughter; Scarlett, Charlotte’s youngest daughter, and Ellie, my niece, were all flower girls.
Charlotte has an amazing figure and being a married woman herself I wanted to keep her look classy, showing off her figure. She wore a green thin strapped knee length dress that had a diamante detail under the bust with shoes identical to mine- cream lace.
The four girls wore traditional cream dresses to the ankle with the same colour green waistband and small green buttons up the back. Georgina and Charlie have very similar hair - long and mousey brown- so I gave them high buns and a white Alice band with flower on the side. Ellie and Scarlett have similar hair also - fair and straight cut just above the shoulders - so they wore theirs down with a flower halo-style hairpiece.
What was your ceremony like?
We had a civil ceremony that lasted 30 minutes. Our friend, Ami, did a reading from a pretty little notebook that we asked her to choose and not let us know until the day. She knew both Paul and I separately before we got together and has always been a great source of support, love and kindness in our relationship.
My Dad and I walked to ‘3 Little Birds’ by Bob Marley. We signed the register to “Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay”. We then walked down the aisle to our celebratory drinks to ‘Paradise City’ by Guns ‘n Roses’.
How did you style your big day?
We had a countryside and shooting theme because we both love the rural life and shoot game birds and clay pigeons.
The bridesmaids and I had wildflower bouquets that included wheatgrass, gypsiphillia, daisies and forget-me-nots. The corsages were smaller versions with orchids for the mothers.
The table decorations were made from moss, fir cones and ivy. They had pictures of game birds for each table and were scattered with empty cartridge shells (green and cream) and leaves. Birch saplings from the florist’s farm sat either side of the ceremony table.
The save the dates, invitations, menus and table plan were designed by someone from eBay and were in green and cream with trees and birds. For place names, I brought some small bird silhouettes in card and placed them on the rim of each wine glass making it look as though the birds were in flight.
One of our two wedding cakes was tiered with two figurines of Paul & me dressed in our alternative shooting clothes (tweed coats and flat caps with shotguns, but me wearing a basque and suspenders and Paul’s tie a bit off centre).
The favours were made by a family member in their Fudge Shop in Cornwall. They patented a chocolate shotgun cartridge mold and we had two made for each guest. The brass ends on the chocolate were made in gold-coloured chocolate. We placed the favours in little pillow envelopes hand decorated by Paul’s mum.
Paul’s parents had a picture of the three of us on the quad bike in Cumbria printed onto labels along with our wedding date for the Champagne bottles
I did not feel the need to decorate the outside and the rest of the barn. The garden is immaculate with a gate through an arch into a blooming buttercup field and the rustic layout of the inside of the barn with its high ceiling, open beams and fairy lights did not need anything adding to it. The main focus was to be on the tables and the decorations as I wanted all the guests to feel that was the 2nd most important part of the day - food and drink!
Tell us about your drinks reception and wedding breakfast
We first had Sunrise cocktails (can’t remember the ingredients, but they look like a traffic light) and glasses of cider for the men while we had our canapés outside in the garden and photos were taken. Canapés included cocktail sausages with mustard dip, cheese straws and tomatoes injected with Tabasco sauce.
There was wine and Champagne on the tables and we opened the bar as soon as everyone was seated for the speeches. We did the speeches and cutting of the cake first so that everyone could relax and enjoy their meal. The speeches were fantastic, especially watching the DVD of the day after. My Dad did a great job, as I knew he would, and Joseph even interrupted Granddad to add his opinion. Paul’s speech was unusual, it certainly didn’t sound like him - very serious and not spoke in his voice. Nerves may have got the better of him!
For the starter we had chicken liver paté, the main was chicken wrapped in Parma ham with potatoes and vegetables, and for desert, one mini meringue with fruit from our wedding cake, a mini chocolate pudding (because everyone loves chocolate) and a mini mandarin cheesecake because it was my Nanny’s favorite and mine when I was younger.
Did you have a band or DJ for your evening reception?
Our friend’s band - The Lost Cause Cowboys - played after the wedding breakfast and before the DJ arrived. They play folk music with a guitar, tambourine and drums. Chris Burford was our DJ and again someone who we are so grateful to have met and had him share our day. We met with Chris a couple of times & the last time, was to tell him EVERY single song that we wanted played in the evening.
Our 1st dance was a song that was relevant to us at the time - not a song from when we first got together, or dated to etc. - ‘Sail’ By AWOL Nation. Not your conventional 1st dance song. We first heard the song played as a backing track to a clip on the internet about a wing suit flyer called Jeb Corliss, where he jumps from very large mountains and literally flies though the air down to ground. The song made the video so powerful and for some reason made us order the band’s album direct from America.
How did you organise your wedding budget?
I made a rough estimate, based on what each item/piece that was required would cost. We were extremely pleased and grateful when my parents said they would pay for all the ‘items’ that the bride was traditionally to pay for. One of our ushers, Richard, paid for all the usher’s suits!
What were your wedding “must have’s”?
The theme/colours of the wedding HAD to be in relation to the countryside and shooting. The colours were green and cream because as a little girl I would joke with my Nanny (my mum’s mum) that she would be my bridesmaid and would wear green. When she passed away, I promised her that ‘my bridesmaids will wear green’. It was also important that we didn’t have a church wedding and that guest numbers were not an issue - everyone was to be included. Having been together 11 years before we got married, we had rather a lot of friends and family.
What was your biggest wedding splurge?
The caterers and it was worth every penny! It was important that no one went hungry and the staff supplied were absolutely fantastic on the day. The price of the caterer included 10 members of staff, two chefs, table linen, cutlery, glasses, cake stands and general running of the wedding day down to the hour! Anna and Debbie at Perks Catering were a delight to spend time with and we owe a lot of the happiness from our day to them.
What was your biggest wedding saving?
We saved the most on the confetti. My mum wanted to do it herself because when she got married very little confetti was thrown. She wanted my day to be showered with confetti and so made over 40 confetti cones and filled them herself with dried petals brought from the internet. We also saved a huge amount of money on the vehicles as our friends lent them to us.
How did you choose your photographer?
I met a lady on the parenting website ‘Bounty’ when I was pregnant with Joseph. She is an extremely talented photographer and so I asked her to capture our day. She unfortunately was unable to due to family commitments, but recommended Kelly Green who owns Lola Rose Photography to me. I met Kelly for the first time and our consultation at the Services on the M4 - half way between our homes. Within less than 5 minutes, and before I had even seen her sample albums, I KNEW Kelly was to be our photographer! Friendly, warm, down to earth and very, very excited to hear all about my plans. I felt I had known her for years and so booked her then and there!
On the day of the wedding, Kelly came to my house (where I got ready) and I didn’t even know she was there. She then went onto the wedding venue to meet Paul and start taking pictures of the guests arriving. ALL day she was absolutely fantastic! No pressure or structured poses and she got to relax at the reception when she had her place at the table for the 3-course meal. Friends and family since the wedding are always commenting on how good she was and how relaxed she made everyone feel. ALL 500-odd photos that she took, the album, DVD show and CD photos are so fantastic and show her amazing talent! I would get married all over again just to meet Kelly and have her on my special day.
How did you choose your suppliers?
I searched online for wedding dresses and everything else. I went on instinct and recommended suppliers from Clock Barn.
Based on your own experience, give us some top tips…
DO WHAT YOU WANT. If that means being perceived as a bridezilla/crazed woman - DO IT. Want for nothing, it is your day, the only wedding day you will have!
“If we could do it all again, we’d…”
If we could do it all again, we would do it exactly the same, no changes.
From start to finish, through all the planning, organising, stressing (on my part), parties, hen dos/stag dos all the way to the after party of the wedding two days later at our house, it was the most amazing year of my life. Friends and family still talk about it 10 months on as being one of the happiest moments of their lives also. People have made new friendships, it’s brought all our friends and the children even closer and for that I am truly blessed to have had such a perfect wedding experience.
Did you go on a honeymoon or mini-moon?
I included a poem in the invitations asking guests to contribute to a Trail Finders account for our honeymoon. Having been together so long, we needed nothing for the house. We had a lovely pot of money to go away with, but due to work, family life and the shooting seasons, we didn't go away on our honeymoon straight after our wedding. Instead we decided to celebrate our 1st year anniversary - represented by paper - with plane tickets to the Maldives.
If you would like to find out more about hiring Clock Barn for your wedding, or to arrange a visit, please telephone 01256 630199 or email Isabel.