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Rustic & relaxed wedding at Upwaltham Barns

Guy & Stef

Photography by Emma May Weddings

The inspo

After a romantic proposal in Greece, we set about planning the wedding. We knew we wanted a relaxed venue that would allow us to include lots of DIY decorations and personal touches as well as a few Jamaican inspired details, including a fantastic steel band duo from Steel Pan Events, that played in the courtyard during the drinks reception.

The magical venue

We absolutely fell in love with Upwaltham Barns as soon as we drove into the car park and as we explored, everything just got better and better. The couple that were getting married there later that day had the same initials as us, so when we walked into East Barn where a large wooden S & G were displayed on the ceremony table it really felt like it was meant to be!!

Stef and Guy really wanted their wedding day to reflect them as a couple and, most importantly, they were super keen for everyone to feel relaxed and to be able to just enjoy the day.

We are so lucky to have lots of very creative friends who were willing to help out. Our friends made bunting for the outside areas of the venue, decorated a wood pallet for our ‘Order of the Day’, made a rustic wooden welcome sign, gathered and prepared conkers for some Autumnal entertainment and even sanded and polished up an old tree slice to make a rustic cake stand.

There were lots of lovely travel themed details too, including a map table plan and photos of us on our adventures on tables. Plus,handmade Scrabble place cards and my Uncle brought bags and bags of our favourite snack over from Jamaica to use as favours.

We also added more personal touches to the Stable Bar, including edible bunting of Smith’s Scampi and Bacon Fries (just because we love them too), more holiday photos and old photos of our parents and grandparents’ weddings.

We hired several items from including the vintage suitcase for our cards, a large photo frame for a DIY photobooth, the log slices for our centre pieces, blankets for the Moroccan Snug and Jenga to add to the afternoon entertainment. For the evening we put together a sweets table for everyone to enjoy and glow-sticks to get the party going.

We used armfuls of seasonal blooms to decorate the barns. The orange and yellow Chinese lanterns looked fabulous and they worked so well in the arrangements and in the bride’s bouquet.

It’s all in the detail

I struggled to find a dress style that didn’t come with a crazy price tag, so bought a white maxi dress from Lulus and absolutely loved it. When I tried the dress on, I felt far more comfortable in that than I had in any of the dresses in the real bridal boutiques. It needed some alteration and some beading to jazz it up, but I was convinced I could make it work. I took it to a recommended seamstress in Brighton who has experience in wedding gown alterations, and she was happy she could make it work too! Several months and several hundred beads later I had the perfect dress, one that I actually felt comfortable in and one that was personal to me.

On the day, I wore a glorious and intricate hair vine and glittery pink shoes from Rachel Simpson along with pearl drop earrings from Liberty in Love. Guy’s wedding present was a gorgeous pearl necklace, which completed my look.

One of my very last-minute decisions was to wear a veil, something I had been very adamant I was not wearing up until about 3 weeks before the wedding. I went for a very light full-length veil from Britten Weddings and I ended up not wanting to take it off!

My make-up and hair were done by the amazing Charlotte Gardner. She completely got the style I wanted straight away and did an incredible job. Both the hair and makeup stayed perfect the for the entire day and even survived the night of crazy dancing!

Guy wanted a classic look and opted for a blue suit from Charles Tyrwhitt, which he wore with a blush pink tie and Aspinal cufflinks that were a wedding day gift from me.

My bridesmaids chose their own dresses that worked with the colour scheme and they looked amazing on the day. Everyone loved what they wore and, importantly, felt relaxed and comfortable.

Tying the knot

We had our ceremony in the East Barn at Upwaltham and the combination of carefully chosen music and readings made the ceremony absolutely perfect. I enjoyed the ceremony so much more than I thought I would, it was just perfect, and my cheeks were aching by the end from beaming so much throughout!

Food, glorious food

A fabulous menu that included Bourbon glazed pork belly, chicken pie and an indulgent sticky toffee pudding. Guests couldn’t have been happier with their choices!

The reception

The brilliant Vintage Roots played a version of ‘Mess is Mine’, Everyone partied late into the night, celebrating a day that was everything Stef and Guy hoped it would be.

A little advice

My advice would be try not to stress to much about the small details. Upwaltham are so organised that they ensure everything falls into place on the day anyway. If something doesn’t go quite to plan it really doesn’t matter, you’ll be far too busy enjoying yourself to notice.

If we could do it all again, we’d stop the clock so we could take a few more moments to let it all sink in! It goes by so quickly and it’s so important to pause and just appreciate it all together – it truly is the best day ever.

The suppliers

Venue: Upwaltham Barns

Photographer: Emma May Weddings

Flowers: Cherfold Cottage Flowers

MUA: Polkadot Hair & Makeup

Props: To Have & to Hire Events (vintage suitcase, large photo frame, log slices, blankets and Jenga)

Band: Vintage Roots