With Hélène’s family living in France and Mark’s family living in Wiltshire, the trickiest thing about this couple’s wedding was finding an ideal venue. Having considered locations across the country, the couple settled on the beautiful Hampshire - not too far from Mark’s home town and easily accessible from the airport. Even better, it was the home to their dream venue, Clock Barn.
Finding the right venue was probably the most important element of Hélène and Mark’s wedding planning. As well as being in a good location, the couple wanted a venue that was naturally beautiful, one that wouldn’t even need dressing for the day. “We fell in love with Clock Barn straight away. It’s rustic, beautiful, secluded and surrounded by fields – ideal for the 30 or so children we'd invited!” smiles Hélène. “We knew everyone would have fun and enjoy themselves as much as us at Clock Barn,” she adds.
With its exposed beams and fairy lights, the barn didn’t require much decorating to make it wedding-ready. With just a few bunches of daisies, sat in old jam jars and dark blue bottles, Hélène and Mark created a display that was simple, yet beautiful. They teamed this charming look with a literary theme – which combined the couple’s love of books and Mark’s affection for charity shops, which most of the novels came from! “Our table plan and table numbers looked like book covers and were named after our favourite books. Our favours were second hand books, which we purchased with each guest in mind and included personalised messages inside, and our place names were bookmarks,” explains Hélène.
The couple’s literary theme continued into their attire as the pair opted for paper accessories, rather than fresh flowers. “The buttonholes, corsages and bridal bouquet were made of paper,” says Hélène. The couple chose meaningful sheet music for each one, for example their parents’ buttonholes were made from sheet music of the first dance song. The bridal bouquet was a mixture of everyone’s different sheets, to symbolise the whole day. “They were a very original touch on the day, and great mementos to keep forever,” smiles Hélène.
The pretty wedding accessories were complemented by simple, yet chic, outfits. Hélène opted for an ivory silk dress, with a sweetheart neckline, and Mark, a cobalt blue three-piece suit. Hélène’s two bridesmaids added a touch of glamour to the day with silver multi-way dresses, while her four flower girls were dressed in white. “All the girls looked stunning,” smiles Hélène.
On the big-day itself, Hélène’s father walked her down the aisle. “This was one of the highlights of the day - as three weeks before he underwent a serious operation and was told he may not be able to travel to England,” explains Hélène. “Not only did he make it, he also made his speech in English and made most of us cry with a slideshow of photos with commentaries about my childhood,” she smiles.
Hélène’s father wasn’t the only one making home videos. In his speech, Mark surprised Hélène and the wedding guests with a video about his first date with Hélène, retracing their steps and filming the places they’d visited. “I cried my eyes out when I saw it,” remembers Hélène.
While the speeches conjured up lots of emotions, the wedding menu offered a more light-hearted affair. Guests enjoyed fish and chip canapés and Pimms during the drinks reception, a three-course meal later on in the day, and a hog roast come evening. “The food was delicious! Cheesecake is Mark’s favourite pudding, and Baileys is my favourite so we asked for Bailey’s cheesecake for dessert. It was fantastic,” smiles Hélène.
“Make it your day. Make meaningful decisions together rather than just going with tradition. Think of what brought you together and how you can personalise the day by making things yourself and getting family and friends involved.”
Images © Samantha Davis Photography
For more information about weddings at Clock Barn, give the wedding team a call on 01256 630199.