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Leading up to their wedding in July 2019 Laura and Matt documented alot of their wedding planning on Instagram so I knew they were creating a very personal wedding with lots of lovely details. Laura has kindly written this blog to tell you about how they chose their suppliers and the different props they used to decorate the barn.
We met in Milton Keynes in January 2017 when Matt moved from Croydon to work in the new city. After buying a house, getting cats and starting a life together, we decided to get married and spent the year and a half engagement saving for our big day. Our vision for the day on Saturday 20th July 2019 was to show our friends and family the life we'd built together, our style, the things we enjoy doing, and what we like to drink and eat. Determined to do the project ourselves, our modest budget was focused and set on the essential bookings, with a monthly budget to raid car boot sales, charity shops and social media with for decorations and bargains.
We've thoroughly enjoyed restoring furniture, being thrifty and making many of the elements of the decor. All the signs, menus, and little touches were designed and made by us. We bought the Dandeleon font from design Burntilldead Type Foundary and put everything including our stationery on Gmund Bier paper in Weizen, which is naturally speckled due to it being made with recycled hops and malt.
Our happy nostalgic barn wedding at Furtho Manor Farm in Northamptonshire was fully funded and created by us. With project management backgrounds we were also able to coordinate the preparations, suppliers and set up ourselves.
It's been by far the most personal and detailed project we've ever put together and only having the right people was involved was essential for maintaining stress levels. My aunt Sara helped me choose my dress and the outfits, Matt's mum Julia did so much work on the flowers bringing my vision come to life and my mum sewed the bunting and made the cake. We couldn't have asked for better friends who helped us get everything to the venue and set up in time, but without the flexibility of Linda and Robin at Furtho who let us start setting up from the Wednesday, we wouldn't have been able to be so creative and make the day completely unique to us.
The original plan was to have our ceremony on the island gazebo on the lake at Furtho, with our guests sitting on grass seats on the bank opposite, but due to the weather not making it's mind up and not wanting to risk the same downpour as on the Friday, we chose to hire some additional chairs and move the ceremony inside the barn. Saturday's weather looked promising and the groomsmen scrambled to put the chairs outside, as long as the bride and groom are in the barn the ceremony can take place, the guests can sit either inside or outside.
We were fully in control of everything apart from the weather, so rain and the met office threatening us the day before was really stressful. The groomsmen did an awesome job, and after a quick change around, it looked perfect. It actually worked out better for my grandparents in the end, who would have struggled to walk down to the gazebo.
Later in the afternoon we did a traditional hand fasting ceremony with our best friend's John and Katharine running the ceremony. We asked 6 of our closest friends to present a different colour ribbon symbolising an important factor our friendship. We then tied the knot, and for us it was the most emotional and happy part of the day.
My day-time dress was a second-hand gold ombre vintage style Maggie Sottero dress - Britannia. Having bedrooms in the manor house so close by, I was able to change into an All Saints cream Lula Nisha dress and Converse trainers for dancing in the evening.
Matt and the groomsmen had chinos and shirt from M&S, with pocket square and bowtie in Liberty Helena's Meadow fabric along with leather braces from Corsac on Etsy.
My bridesmaids, sister in law Claire and friend Jess wore custom green tulle skirts and cream camisoles from Yana Timoshinova on Etsy.
I loved my wedding dress as my grandparents had bought it for me, but changing my outfit for the evening was a great idea as we got to do a second lot of photographs, the dress was less fitted and I had Converse to wear which looked and felt awesome. We stayed on the dancefloor all night and it somehow made the day seem longer.
Make-up and Hair
We made great use of the rooms at Furtho Manor Farm and my bridesmaids and I got ready in the main house, with Matt and Groomsmen upstairs. Make-up artist Sarah Evans and hair stylist Elizabeth Jane worked their magic to create vintage hair and make-up looks to go with our outfits. I have a beautiful Jannie Baltzer - Veronika crown and veil which Lizzie used as the focus for the style.
I loved my make-up especially the red lipstick and Sarah was excited to be doing something different for a change. Lizzie was brilliant too and very patient with me trying to get the right style to go with my crown and veil. Getting ready with my friends and both mothers was a wonderful experience in that bright spacious room.
Flowers and Decor
The cake display, centre pieces, hanging bird cages and garland were all put together by me and Matt's mum with silk flowers and foliage from Ikea and Blooming Artificial. The 100 meters of bunting was made of specially chosen cotton from Fabric HQ and put together by my mum who has just retired and had plenty of time. I also taught myself macrame and made two wall hangings. We had festoon rope lights which suited the barn and the styling.
Being a blank canvas with a very high ceiling, it was important to decorate the whole space with colour and textures that carry the theme everywhere you looked. Creating an engaging, intimate event space for 70 people isn't easy but we're so happy with the coverage we achieved.
The bouquet, corsages, buttonholes and ceremony display were the creations of Georgianna at Jade Flower Boutique, who incorporated scents, textures and colours into wild and natural arrangements.
I carefully chose plants, blooms and foliage that would be available at the time of the wedding, I'd got a clear vision of the bouquet shape, colours and textures. Georgianna and I had loads of fun putting it together even with a seriously last-minute cancellation from the supplier which meant we had to use silks for some of the missing ones.
Flowers used:wild and wide hand tie with lots of texture, lots of green foliage such as unfurling Ferns, Harts tongue fern, Asparagus Fern, complimented with peach and ivory Ranunculas, orange Cosmos, Poppy Seed heads, Pampas Grass, Fever Few, Pussy Willow, willow twigs, cream abundance Roses and white Ammi (Allium) Yarrow.
The reception drinks featured prosecco served in vintage style champagne coupe glasses with cheese straws from Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company in Somerset.
Trying to find something different for our canapes was really difficult, and then it occurred to us that canapes are essentially just snacks, so we went with our favourite go-to. I knew I wanted coupes rather than champagne flutes, holding a coupe just make you feel instantly more glamourous.
The Chipping Norton Tea Set provided the afternoon tea and vintage crockery and cake stands. With sandwiches, quiches, scones and personalised cupcakes, some guests wished they'd skipped lunch before-hand.
Being a summer wedding, hot food during the day just felt like too much. We also wanted our meal to be social and at a pace that suited everyone - afternoon tea from Chipping Norton Tea Set was the first and easiest decision we made.
Bandit food truck provided the evening meal, rocking up later in the evening with BBQ street food to suit every requirement. Guests exchanged a custom designed ticket for whatever they liked before helping themselves to a Cornetto ice-cream complete with in-joke sign "Do you want anything from the shop" Pegg/Frost.
We came across Jonathan and Smokey the truck at a local festival and knew we had to have them at our wedding. Their setup reminded me of the film Chef with Jon Favreau and their food is insanely good. The Cornetto ice-creams were also a fun nod to our favourite films which amused our friends but confused others.
Tables and Chairs
We opted for vintage trestle tables and folding chairs from Linda's Vintage Hire to make best use of the long space in the barn. The table shape was great for sharing afternoon tea and the rustic style of the furniture went perfectly with the theme.
Matt also managed to source some industrial cable reels which he reinforced, sanded and stained for tables. Put together with cube stools that I upholstered in recycled wool blankets, there were breakout areas for people sit near the bar and the dancefloor.
Making the stools and preparing the cable reels is a perfect example of where we've been able to teach ourselves new skills in the process of creating our wedding. We're so proud that we were able to do a lot of the big items ourselves.
Matt's passion for cycling and fiction inspired the table plan;made from four bicycle wheels sprayed copper, hung from a wooden frame and decorated with flowers. The fiction places table names and seating arrangement were then clipped to the spokes. The table name markers themselves were fitted into the centre pieces and designed in the style of vintage American 'wish you were here' postcards. I hand made the name cards on the tables using torn cotton Khadi paper and a dip-dyed macrame leaf.
The postcards we made were really fun because the fictional places we featured weren't exactly holiday destinations, 'Greetings from LV426' was a particular favourite. Creating 70 macrame leaves for the place cards took a long time, but it was so worth it, many of our friends use theirs as a bookmark to remind them of our day, and this makes us so happy.
For the favours we wanted them to be useful but also personal and different. I used the stationery we'd designed to create our own labels for 'Laura's best Teapig's brew' and 'Matt's favourite Redber ground coffee'. Heat-sealed pouches for guests to take home, the beverage-based favours were displayed in metal bathtubs on an old sideboard decorated with books, Persian style rug, plants and macrame wall hanging. Although favours are a lovely gesture on their own, the experience in how our guests received them is the memory we wanted to create.
The Cotswolds Cheese company provided the five-tier cheese cake which went down so well, the only picture we managed to take was of it completely demolished. However, the traditional cake made by my mum was featured on a vintage chest of drawers with each drawer bursting with flower arrangements. Persian style rug, candle sticks and a framed poem from my great-grandmother's wedding book completed the scene for the wedding cake.
I see so many beautiful cakes at DIY weddings which have no doubt cost a lot of money, only for them to be put on a side table in the corner. This display wasn't a huge expense, and we did the silk flower arrangements ourselves months beforehand.
Band and Music
With no WIFI or speakers in the barn, we used our own Minirig portable speakers tethered off mobile phone data to provide the sound for the ceremony and the daytime background music. Trusted with fading the tracks in and out for the ceremony, best man Dan made the process seamless as well as cost effective.
We then opted for a 'rock wherever' approach to the dance floor and kept the barn floor and stage area open. The Teenage Kicks played two 30 mins sets including our first dance 'Cloudbusting' by Kate Bush, they then played a downloaded Spotify playlist carefully curated by Matt and I with all our favourite songs. We used the Alive Network service to find the band and arrange contracts which was so simple.
After food and drink, this was our biggest expense but not one we wanted to scrimp on. Our band were terrific, learned our less than typical first dance song in the style we asked for, rocked an impressive live playlist and then DJ'd our list of songs for our disco. I'm not sure we could have found a better group of guys. The Alive Network website is also great as it allows you to sample the band before-hand and ask them any questions.
Finding a small writing desk at an antiques fair provided the inspiration for the guest book, then finding my grandma's typewriter, we setup the desk so that guests could write us notes on paper, put in an envelope. We then added the notes to our gorgeous Lotus Blu Book Art photo album after the wedding.
Guestbooks often get forgotten at weddings and we wanted to make a feature of it. We got some lovely feedback and comments in our ?in? pigeonhole!
Memories: We were lucky enough to find that three of our grandmothers had kept their wedding dresses from the 40's and 50's, so after a dry clean and some light repairs, Matt made a copper pipe rail to hang them on in a dressing room diorama. A vintage dressing table, rug, ironing board and iron, telephone, ottoman and chair all sourced from family members, made a perfect setting for photos of our parent's and grandparent's weddings.
I'd not seen this done before in person or on social media, so I realised how lucky we were to have not just one grandmother's dress, but three of them and accessories! We based the whole diorama around their dresses, and it was a wonderful way to show our families coming together and give our guests something to explore.
Honeymoon ideas: Message in a bottle was another 'activity' for guests, featuring a globe and note paper, we asked our guests to suggest holiday destinations and put them in a 70's Martini bottle.
Blankets:Originally bought for putting over haybales at the ceremony, the recycled wool blankets were rolled and put into a restored travelling trunk belonging to my great grandparents.
Blankets come in so handy at outdoor weddings and for guests not joining us on the dance floor the entire evening, it got a little cold. We got the recycled wool blankets just to keep things a bit more eco-friendly.
We chose London Wedding Photographer Nick Tucker for his 'documentary'Ban approach to wedding photography. Nick loved how much the venue had to offer with the industrial equipment and farm buildings, along with the more traditional backdrops nearer the house.
We didn't want forced or posed line up family photos, it was important that our day was captured in a natural and reportage style. We're so happy with the photos Nick took for us and I'm glad we ventured around the farm to get some of our favourite shots. Nick also took some amazing dancefloor photos of us and our guests which are some of the nicest photos we've got.
Here are the links to all the suppliers used
Make up www.sarahevansmakeup.co.uk
For more information on weddings at Furtho Manor Farm email email@example.com