Rebecca and Joe’s English country wedding is full of so many sweet, delicate, nature-inspired elements it looks simply magical! I love the way they embraced all the things and people they love in the creation of their day. What a wedding!
The Couple: Rebecca and Joe
The Wedding: 4.28.12 – Milden Hall – Milden, Suffolk
What three adjectives best describe your wedding day? Natural, personal, inclusive..one more?… Fun!
Was there a decor theme that ran through your wedding? What was the inspiration for that particular idea and how did it reflect you as a couple? There was no one “theme” that we discussed. A celebration of love, family, friendship and nature was the closest we got to a theme! Maybe “abundance in nature” and “togetherness” sums it up. We had planned to get married in the woods on the grounds of our venue…we both love nature and feel most content when surrounded by it, so it seemed perfect. However, on the day, England was in the middle of one of the wettest, windiest springs on record, so we brought the woods indoors and (with the help of our florist) decked the beautiful 16th century wooden barn with blossom trees, seasonal flowers and foliage. We wanted the barn to feel somewhere between enchanted woodland and the kind of big traditional rural English feast/celebration, that might have been held on a day like May Day, a couple of hundred years ago. A close friend referenced Bilbo Baggins’ birthday party in Lord of the Rings…that also ended up being a source of inspiration!
What were some of the different ways you used decor elements to create the beautiful, cohesive event you were envisioning? For fashion, the bride’s dress had a vintage/ethereal feel. The Groom’s suit and shoes referenced a traditional country gent look and the ushers wore simple outfits tied together with black braces and a vintage flower pattern bow tie. The bridesmaids dresses were pale, floaty and ethereal. We wanted everyone to be comfortable and feel like themselves. The little girls weren’t primped..their hair was loose and they wore fresh delicate seasonal flower circlets.
Our flowers were loose, nature inspired, spring-like and abundant. Our florist made long wooden boxes that ran the length of the long banqueting table and the smaller trestle tables and packed them with hyacinths, freesias, lily of the valley, fresh herbs, stocks, muscari, anemones, ranunculus and lots of foliage. Scent was important! Bouquets contained similar blooms and were loose and hand-picked in style. Buttonholes contained different flowers and colours. We wanted to use delicate spring-time flowers which meant buttonholes didn’t last the day, but we didn’t want to compromise on that. The wooden pillars/upright struts of the barn were lined with blossoming and budding trees and the whole barn was dotted with mismatched jugs and jam jars filled with natural posies and sprigs. We also strung handmade bunting up around the barn in no real pattern…we wanted it all to feel slightly haphazard in the way nature is.
The tables were covered in white linen with smaller vintage embroidered linens on top (collected from charity shops by our friend Freya). These helped to soften the formality of a crisp plain white cloth and added an air of nostalgia and extra prettiness! We made about a hundred jam jar candle holders and decorating them with vintage lace and trimmings which really make the candlelight twinkle and bounce around. These were dotted along the tables and amongst the flowers.
We made our Orders of Service from an idea we saw on a wedding blog. They were in the style of a Turkish map-fold. The cardboard covers were made from blank beer-mats which we hand printed using Lino-cuts. They were the perfect size to fit into handbags and pockets and the bright green created a lovely effect when they were all lined up on the benches when guests arrived. Invites were designed in collaboration with our friend Vicky Langdon. We wanted it to look delicate, spring-like and hand-drawn. She drew seasonal British wild flowers in a very innocent style – just what we were after! The back of the invite was a bright rhubarb-like colour. Vicky even incorporated two small “love birds” resting on the branches amongst the flowers, and a birdhouse with our initials within a heart carved into it – these tiny details made the whole thing very personal. When we got engaged in Sri Lanka we (rather cheesily) found a tree and carved our initials in a heart – Vicky translated that story onto the invite. The envelopes were even beautiful! Both were hand printed by a lady whose printing studio is two roads away from our house in London. We handprinted our menus using a set of rubber letter stamps and headed them with the same motif that we used on the orders of service – our initials within a heart. For the seating plan we hand printed brown luggage tags with guests names and hung them from nails hammered into a frame made from branches from the wood we would have married in if the weather hadn’t been apocalyptic!
Other touches included a guest book table set up with framed photos of our parents and grandparents on their wedding days. We really wanted to emphasise how much of an inspiration they have been to us. All of them have had such long, happy and romantic marriages. We spoke about this and thanked each of them during the ceremony. We also had a small “sweeties” table…with old jars and tins full of traditional penny sweets and marshmallows. Our ten nieces and nephews didn’t touch their meals but ate their body weight in sweets.
Although not decor related, we felt we should mention the music. This was a massive part of the day and lots of people have commented that it worked to make it an incredibly inclusive, individual and fun day. We cannot praise the band The London Essentials enough – they played acoustically around the tables during the latter part of the meal (as well as at the afternoon drinks). Their unique take on pop music ranging from Lionel Richie to Tinie Tempah got almost every guest dancing at the tables, laughing and interacting…perfect! That was followed by cut a shine ceilidh band, and later in the evening, Joe and his ushers performed some covers and Joe surprised everyone (including me) with a song he had written. It was touching and hilarious – a sing-along set to the tune of “wild rover”. Our video shows everyone singing their hearts out, arms around each other, smiling and laughing.
Where did you choose to hold your wedding, and how did the location influence your decor decisions? We chose Milden Hall in Suffolk, an incredibly beautiful timber framed Tudor barn on a working farm set within wild meadows, ancient and new woodland and a walled garden. We are both originally from Essex, but very close to the suffolk border. We both have childhood memories of happy times spent in the suffolk countryside. We wanted the venue to be rural, rustic, historic, full of atmosphere and not your typical “wedding venue.” This venue is a family home and they only agree to a handful of weddings a year. There was no “package”, we were free to do what we wanted with the space. They are an environmentally responsible venue and that appealed to us. Chickens and pets roam freely around the outside space!
Looking back, do you have a favorite project or successful decor idea from your wedding? Tell us what you loved about it! Not one favourite thing. We were very proud of our orders of service and menus. It was satisfying to make them from scratch and have lots of people comment on them. Same goes for the jam and lavender bag favours…all of our parents were involved and it has actually got us all into jam making and sewing since then! The flowers were very important, becky is training to be a florist…we managed to achieve exactly what we wanted despite terrible weather which affected the flowers available. Using potted trees was a last minute but brilliant solution- I would definitely recommend it It can often be cheaper too and they can be re-used after the day of course.
Overall, it was just beyond brilliant to have so many people involved and invested in the day. We are still bowled over by the support we received from family and friends. That feeling of joint enterprise really gave the day a unique and special atmosphere.
The Wedding Team:
Photographer: Aneta MAK
Ceremony and Reception Venue: Milden Hall
Officiant: Claire Jolly, Humanist Celebrant
Invitation Designer: Victoria Langdon
Catering: Le Talbooth, Dedham
Florist: Jane Northover in Frinton-On-Sea, Essex
Wedding Cake: Rebecca’s eldest sister, Jane Jones
Wedding Dress: Willow by Jenny Packham
Bridal Accessories: Fresh Lily of the Valley Circlet in hair
Bridesmaids’ Apparel & Accessories: Zara Flower Girls’ Dresses: I Love Gorgeous
Groom & Groomsmen’s Apparel & Accessories: Groom – Aubin and Willis, Alex James Range. Brogues – Grenson
Live Music: The London Essentials, and Cut A Shine
Favors: For the women: Homemade heart shaped and embroidered lavender bags. For the men: Jars of homemade jam made by Rebecca’s folks.
Wow – amazing! Thank you Rebecca and Joe!