Shaun popped the question to girlfriend Lizzie exactly four years after their first date, on Valentine’s Day. While Shaun had planned to whisk Lizzie off to a fancy restaurant, she insisted that the pair stay in and enjoy an M&S dine for £10 meal. Little did she know what he had planned! “When it came to dessert, Shaun came into the room with a tray full of round things, from polos to party rings. He then got on one knee and proposed,” she smiled. “It was perfect. Thoughtful but not too extravagant.”
Finding the right venue was the first thing on the couple’s to-do list. They searched online to make a venue shortlist but only ended up visiting two venues – falling in love with the second. “As soon as we drove up to Sandhole Oak Barn we knew it was the one. It was informal and relaxed but beautiful,” smiles Lizzie. “It also perfectly accommodated all the people we had in mind and had overnight accommodation for our nearest and dearest,” she adds.
The simple life
The couple knew that they wanted a laid back countryside vibe when it came to their wedding day, so they styled their day in a relaxed rustic fashion. Lovely lilacs and lavender featured throughout their wedding design and wild flowers adorned their tables. “Luckily the barn was beautiful on its own – which meant we were able to save a lot of money on decorations,” explains Lizzie. “We did splash out on fairy lights for the ceremony but this was because when I was little I used to walk up and down the lighting aisle in B&Q and pretend I was getting married!” she laughs.
While the pair were able to source the majority of their suppliers through family friends and wedding fayres, they sought Sandhole Oak Barn’s help when it came to organising the catering for their big day. “We had the option of two caterers and decided to go for Top Table because we were really impressed with their food and approach,” says Lizzie. “The food was really delicious and the whole catering team were extremely welcoming,” she adds.
Finding the one
With the pair’s rustic, vintage-inspired theme in mind, Lizzie chose a classic gown to wear on her special day. Finding the perfect dress didn’t come easily though, and Lizzie didn’t enjoy the browsing process as much as she thought she would. “As I am quite small I found it hard to imagine myself in any of the dresses that were in bigger sizes – which was most of them. They had so much extra fabric and weight in them that it was hard to imagine how they would feel on the day,” explains Lizzie.
Having found her perfect dress, Lizzie complemented its classic style with pretty pearl-adorned shoes, a sparkly hair slide and pearl and diamond jewellery.
Shaun and his groomsmen went down the unconventional route of hiring their suits from a company online. As he’d done this before for a friend’s wedding, he was confident that the company would deliver everything he required for the big day. “The suits arrived a few days before the wedding and even though some sizes needed to be changed, Formally Yours, the hire company, quickly swapped the items for the right size. It was all very straightforward,” explains Lizzie.
Just the two of us
Lizzie and Shaun’s ceremony was hugely important to the couple and they made efforts to personalise it as much as possible. “We spent a long time searching for the perfect reading. When I came across the poem, I Like You, I thought it was perfect – so my aunty read it for us at our wedding,” explains Lizzie. Keen to add a special touch to their ceremony, Lizzie also wrote her own reading as a surprise for Shaun, which her mum read out for the couple on their big day. Post-ceremony, Pimms and lemonade was served up to all the guests while Shaun and Lizzie took some time out together. “We went for a drive, just the two of us, and it was lovely. We had 20 minutes to ourselves to take everything in and have a breather,” smiles Lizzie.
Impressive food fare
Once the couple returned, the wedding party headed into the main barn to enjoy a sit-down three-course meal. “The food was one of the most expensive elements of our day but we didn’t mind at all. It was so delicious and all the guests raved about it,” says Lizzie. Ensuring there was a yummy vegetarian menu was important to Lizzie – being a vegetarian herself. Top Table were able to accommodate all her needs and work with the couple to create a menu to remember.
The party vibe
The food wasn’t the only thing to impress the couple’s wedding guests. Great entertainment in the form of a Ceilidh band and DJ was also on hand for the evening party. “The Ceilidh band really got the party started,” laughs Lizzie. “Instead of having a first dance, we danced with all our guests. We’d seen so many couples who’d had a routine and been nervous beforehand – so we just decided to have some fun! It was perfect.”
Lizzie’s top tips:
- Do as much as you can before the event so that you’re not worried should any disasters occur. I broke my toe just a few weeks before – but luckily had the bulk of the organising planned!
- Ask the experts to help you out. We asked our photographers, venue and caterers about lots of things and they always
- Grooms should plan their speech well beforehand rather than the night before! It’s stressful enough without having to plan a speech on top of everything else.
Images © Golding Photography
For more information about weddings at Sandhole Oak Barn, give the friendly wedding team a call on 01260 224215.