Welcome to another beautiful wedding here on the blog this morning! If you’re planning a rustic chic shindig, now’s the time for inspiration, as bride Jemima and groom Matt effortlessly swooned their way to Mr and Mrs in this utterly gorgeous example of a rural, foliage-filled, countryside garden marquee wedding.
The pair were married in a heartfelt and sentimental ceremony at Barsham Church, which is where Jemima’s Grandfather used to be Reverend. The church has hosted many family weddings and events so it was an obvious place for the pair to unite. They set up the festival-style party celebrations at Laurel’s Farm (Jemima’s parents garden!), with a beautiful ivy and foliage draped marquee, hired from Morton’s Event Hire. This delightful couple DIY’d everything themselves, from the cake right down to the table numbers.
Because we had always planned on having a ‘garden wedding’ we knew that some wedding ideas and aspects would feel too forced or formal in our setting. So we always kept this in mind when making decisions about prop or equipment hire, the clothing choices and general styling for the day. We often found ourselves describing our wedding to friends and family as a ‘fancy garden party’.
Jemima cleverly used wholesale flowers and other money-saving ways to fit her £15,000 wedding budget. With her careful and imaginatively detailed planning, the result is a gloriously bohemian, secret garden party wedding full of blush, ferns and flower crowns.
I was adamant that I didn’t want a particular colour theme as I felt this could become too forced and would make the wedding appear too styled. I did however love the idea of bringing the greenery of the garden outside, inside the marquee, so a ‘foliage’ theme began to take shape and ended up featuring in most aspects throughout our day.
The brilliant Camilla Andrea Photography brings us this stunning collection of photos today. We love her style…totally natural and relaxed, perfect for this pair’s vibe.
Here’s Jemima to fill you in on all the deets….
Surprise Canadian Lakeside Proposal with Bespoke Bezel Setting Ring
Matt proposed on our holiday to Canada in 2017. We’d been together for nearly 12 years and this was our first holiday abroad together in a long time. A few days into the 10 day road trip around British Columbia, we came across Duffey Lake Provincial Park, a deserted frozen lake nestled amongst the mountains and snow. It was so beautiful and so so quiet; it felt like we had the lake completely to ourselves. I turned around and Matt was on one knee with a custom designed engagement ring. He asked me to marry him and of course I said yes! He later told me that he had initially planned to pop the question at Emerald Lake in a few days’ time, but the setting and timing was just too perfect where we were at that moment. He also told me how he’d searched high and low for my ideal ring and in the end had gone to an independent jeweller in Norwich to get one custom made at Aurum Jewellers.This was what surprised me most of all; I had my heart set on a bezel setting and they are very hard to find in most jewellers. The fact that he had remembered exactly what I wanted and had gone to the trouble of getting it made beforehand was a total shock and I was very pleased with the result. It was absolutely perfect!
We decided early on to stick to a simple double sided invitation card and then use a wedding website to share important information and gather the RSVPs. We used a free wedding website called Joy that allows you to customise your wedding page to a variety of designs. It was so easy to use and very budget friendly! And we used Papier for our invitations.
Traditional Marquee with a Rustic Feel
We found Morton’s Event Hire online. Rob was a huge help in the planning process and was so patient in answering my millions of questions. He helped us to get the exact style that worked for us and our wedding and offered lots of tips and suggestions along the way. We loved their hexagonal modular pod marquee but they were a little out of our budget and we thought that a more relaxed style like their traditional marquee would suit us better. We opted to have it unlined to keep the rustic feel of a garden wedding and they also provided festoon and fairy lighting for the inside.
Ivy Draped Church Ceremony
We were married at Barsham Church in Suffolk followed by a garden party reception at my parent’s home. My Grandfather used to be the reverend at Barsham Church. It was also the church that my parents were married in, so there was no question that we would get married there; nowhere else even came close. The ceremony was conducted by the local reverend (a close friend of the family.) The church was decorated with 8 big flower arrangements. On the end of the church pews we simply hung a loop of trailing ivy which we had foraged from the hedgerows behind the church and from my parent’s garden.
We hired a fabulous organist to play the music and we also asked the church choir to join us for the ceremony and sing the hymns. We also had two readings; one scripture and one non scripture.
Relaxed Tweed for the Groom and Ushers
A traditional groom’s suit was out of the question for Matt. He wasn’t keen as they didn’t really fit with the wedding style and he preferred to keep it quite relaxed. He loved the idea of tweed but with two best men and a young usher to dress to match, it was proving tricky to find a style he liked that was affordable and in stock on the high street. After a bit of research, he came across That British Tweed Company and a jacket/waistcoat combo in brown/green tweed that he really liked. He wore chinos from Next and a simple white shirt from Marks & Spencer. He wore tan brogues from Office.
Boho Vintage Dress from California and Pink Jimmy Choos
My dress was a last minute find and actually my second dress purchase. I started my search for a wedding dress as soon as we set the date and I trawled through what felt like every bridal boutique in Norfolk and Suffolk, and a few in London. I came across a company called Saldana Vintage on Instagram, who are based in California, and they had exactly what I was looking for. They specialise in vintage lace dresses but also make dresses to order and exactly to your measurements. I found the Sage Dress in their new lace range; it was an ivory cotton crochet lace that covered the whole dress, a scallop neckline and long sleeves with v-shape cuffs. Even with the rush order to have it completed sooner, being sent out on priority delivery and exchange rates, the dress still cost me less than £800!
I was so happy when is arrived a week before the wedding and it was exactly as I’d seen on the website.
I came across the Jimmy Choo Micky 85 glitter pumps in Pink – perfect designer garden wedding shoes! My hairdresser Sian from Lavish Hair Beauty & Aesthetics , styled both mine and Fudge’s hair for the day. She helped me find some extensions to give my hair some extra body and curled my hair, pinning parts up to shape around the flower crown. She styled Fudge’s into an up-do with sprigs of gypsophila interspersed throughout.
Ornate DIY Decor and Prop Hire
I kept in mind the idea of ‘bringing the outside in’ to the marquee and used foliage as much as possible. The few pieces we did hire came from Katherine Erwin at Event House. She was brilliant in helping me to get the bits that worked for us and was so helpful in showing me other styling ideas. We hired the chesterfield chairs, chaise and coffee table, a Polaroid camera and ornate gold frame for the photo booth area, benches for the fire pit area, bunches of faux ivy and ivy garlands for inside the marquee.
Within the marquee, Morton’s had set up the lighting; there was a chandelier hanging from the ceiling, fairy lighting along the tops of the walls and they also created a canopy of festoon lighting over the dance floor. For the big trees in the garden, I got some uplighters from Homebase. I decided to use faux flowers and foliage throughout the marquee and garden and hired tables, chairs and all the catering/dining equipment and linen from The Banqueting Hire Service.
The table numbers were simple white papier-mâché ones from Hobbycraft. The gift table in the marquee hosted a post-box for cards that I decorated myself and we had a picnic basket full of blankets from IKEA for the guests to use in the evening when it got a little chilly.
Outside the marquee, we set up lots of little ‘lounging areas’ for the guests. Towards the back of the garden, I borrowed my parents’ wooden bench and garden chairs to make another seating area and draped faux wisteria garlands as a hanging backdrop. My dad made a fire-pit from an old fire crate – we used this for marshmallows in the evening.
Wholesale Flowers, Ferns and Fountain Grass Foliage
I decided early on to go without a florist and bought all flowers and florist supplies from a wholesaler called Whittingtons. This helped massively with the wedding budget! I wanted the green/foliage idea to carry through within the flowers and chose only white flowers to intersperse amongst the greenery. For foliage I went for fountain grass, aspidistra leaves, eucalyptus parvifolia, pistacia, chicoleaf, hard and soft ruscus and ferns. We had to leave my flower crown until the morning of the wedding because we didn’t want to risk the flowers wilting in the heat. My mum has since dried it out so I can keep it as a memento of the day.
Giant BBQ, Rustic Sharing Feast and Macaroon Tower
For our food we were recommended to try Andy Parle Event Catering by Morton’s the marquee company. Andy was absolutely brilliant from start to finish. We were finding it quite difficult to decide what we wanted, because Matt’s a bit of a fussy eater and I’m a foodie who loves everything. We decided on a BBQ – he served the BBQ meats on a disposable barbecue, with smoking hay and herbs underneath, on a bed of real turf inside a crate. It was also accompanied with various pastas and salads in big sharing bowls. The guests loved it and it was such a dramatic centrepiece for the meal, the whole effect was amazing!
For dessert we decided to run a serve-yourself dessert station and allow guests to come and choose their own. Matt and I have a bit of a sweet-tooth and we couldn’t decide on just one dessert so, we went for lots! There were homemade brownie tray bakes (made by a friend of my sister), an 8 tier macaron tower from Macarons & More, various ice creams and sorbets by Parravani’s and fresh red fruits, sprinkles and sauces. To be honest, most of the guests couldn’t wait for dessert when they read the big dessert sign of what was on offer!
Family Cake Recipe
The traditional style of a wedding cake did not suit our theme or style and neither of us are fans of the sickly sweetness of icing. My younger sister is a keen baker, so we asked her if she could make our cake for us. The cake was made up of 3 tiers and each tier was made up of the 3 flavour layers in a gradient sponge effect from dark to light – chocolate, ginger, salted caramel. It was all coated with a caramel frosting in a naked cake style and topped off with a simple wooden cake topper and decorative ivy strands from Ginger Ray.
Bar Hire and DIY Mexican Style Photo Booth Tent
We provided the welcome drinks, toasting drinks and wine for the tables (good old Tesco!). But we did hire Ollie Platt Events to run the bar for us throughout the day and evening. They supplied our guests with a huge variety of drinks, at reasonable prices and even had the system set up to take a card payment – which was brilliant for a wedding out in the middle of the countryside.
We bought a small gazebo from IKEA and kitted it out with all the props you can think of with a Mexican theme. We made cactus garlands from felt, strung up multi-coloured ribbons to the ceiling and made a pom-pom curtain then we added the piñata, inflatable cacti, sombreros and ponchos, and loads of other photo props
Mink Lace TFNC Bridesmaid Dress
I had my best friend Fudge as bridesmaid and we found the TFNC Lace Bow Back Maxi Dress in Mink online and it fitted the brief perfectly. As we’d saved money on the dress, we could splurge a little on Fudge’s shoes. We found the L.K.Bennett Annabella High Block Heel Sandals in Rose half price in the summer sale and they were a really good colour match as well as something that she knew she’d wear again.
Natural and Beautiful Wedding Photographs
I researched loads of local photographers and decided to contact our favourites first to see who miraculously still had availability for 6 months’ time! Camilla Andrea Photography was at the top of my list and I couldn’t believe it when she said she was free. We set up a meeting to get to know each other, show her the venue and the rest is history. Camilla was truly amazing throughout the day; we hardly knew she was there, but somehow she managed to capture every tiny little moment in such natural settings and detail. We couldn’t budget for a videographer for the day, but it didn’t matter in the end because Camilla’s photos tell the whole story from start to finish. Her beautiful tones and her gloriously natural style that was exactly what we wanted.
Our first dance was to John Legend – ‘Save Room’. Matt actually picked the first dance song. It reminded him of one of the first gigs we went to see together early on in our relationship. We both love John Legend’s music.
Party Style DJ
We found our DJ, Olly from Saturn Entertainments , through a friend of a friend. He was a breeze to work with from the start; he listened to us and what we were after, made some helpful suggestions and worked with us to style the DJ booth.
We honestly couldn’t pick one; we had the best day from start to finish.
We loved being able to celebrate with so many friends and family in a place that means so much to us.
We were so lucky throughout the whole wedding planning process to have such supportive families. They constantly told us “remember it’s your day, do what you both want and don’t try to please everyone else” and we did exactly that. It meant that we had the day that we wanted and it was truly about us, no one else. We advise anyone else planning their wedding to follow that too.
The Line Up
Photographer: Camilla Andrea Photography; Venue: Barsham Church; Marquee Hire: Morton’s Event Hire; Bride’s Dress: Saldana Vintage; Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo; Bridesmaid Dresses: TFNC; Groom’s Jacket: That British Tweed Company; Groom’s Shirt and Chinos: Next and a simple white shirt from Marks & Spencer; Groom’s Shoes: Office; Hair: Lavish Hair Beauty & Aesthetics; Decor Hire: Katherine Erwin at Event House; Prop Hire: The Banqueting Hire Service; Table Numbers and other DIY items: Hobbycraft; DIY Furniture and Props: IKEA; Bar: Ollie Platt Events; Caterer: Andy Parle Event Catering; Cake: Macarons & More; Cake Topper: Ginger Ray; Florist: Whittingtons; Ice Creams / Sorbets: Parravani’s; Stationery: Joy / Papier; Jewellers: Aurum Jewellers; DJ: Saturn Entertainments