Ellen & Peter
Foodie feasts, a DIY gin bar and endless entertainment made this Berkshire barn wedding super fun
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Hannah McClune Photography,
Ellen and Peter were slowly sailing along the river, after hiring a boat in Henley-on-Thames to celebrate their ninth anniversary weekend, when all of a sudden the boat came to a stop. “Peter cut the engine about 20 minutes into our journey up the river and asked me to marry him! The ring features a beautiful platinum solitaire diamond with a gold inlay.”
Only when the bride felt like a real princess did she know she’d found the gown to step down the aisle in for her Berkshire barn wedding.
“My A-line Amanda Wyatt dress wasn’t at all what I was looking for to start with, but when I tried it on I never wanted to take it off again.”
The design featured soft tulle, lace detailing on the bodice and an illusion back in ivory and champagne colours.
“I borrowed a Tiffany & Co bracelet from my mum and purchased gold moonstone earrings from Astley Clarke. I wasn’t going to wear a necklace, but Pete gifted me a beautiful Links of London design. It matched my dress perfectly.” Kurt Geiger shoes and a Vera Wang two-tier veil, bought from David’s Bridal, completed Ellen’s aisle style.
The groom opted for a navy blue morning suit teamed with a grey tweed waistcoat and burgundy tie. “Pete looked so handsome. We hired all of the suits from Black Tie Menswear in Berkshire.”
Six bridesmaids stunned in navy blue, full-length chiffon dresses with lace detailing on the back from Monsoon. “My sister found them for us.”
“I thought it would be a challenge to find a dress to suit blondes, brunettes and redheads, but navy was the perfect choice.”
“I ordered a sample of the dress first for the girls to try on. They all looked beautiful.”
Liz Patey joined the bride on her wedding morning to take care of her hair and makeup. “She was absolutely brilliant and so patient during my trial, even when I couldn’t make my mind up on my hairstyle. She used a lovely MAC lipstick in ‘Peach Blossom’ on the day.”
Ellen and Peter married at St Andrew’s Church in Sonning. “Pete’s family are Catholic, so it was important to us to have a religious ceremony. My grandfather read ‘Love Is A Temporary Madness’, an extract from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and Pete’s father read from 1 Corinthians 13.”
In keeping with tradition, the bride walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s ‘Canon in D’. The couple then mixed it up for the music as they signed the marriage register.
“The church organist kindly learned the piano version of ‘Married Life’ for us, which is the theme music from the Pixar film ‘Up’!”
“The food at Lillibrooke Manor, where we celebrated our Berkshire barn wedding reception, was amazing! We opted for a three-course meal, starting with black fig, buffalo mozzarella and prosciutto salad with a chilli dressing. For the main, we tucked into pot-roasted beef wrapped in parma ham with dauphinoise potatoes. Dessert was Pimm’s-inspired, featuring strawberries, cucumber and red berry sorbet with a raspberry tuile.
Lillibrooke Manor has so much character of its own – one of the reasons we chose it for the venue of our Berkshire barn wedding – so we didn’t need to choose a theme.” Academy Audio installed festoon lights and a fairy light canopy to complement the barns. The couple then took care of the rest of the décor themselves.
“We strung up Polaroid pictures in the smaller barn, where we held our drinks reception, and collected gin bottles to be the vases for our floral centrepieces. In the engine room, next to the main barn, there was a bridesmaids’ bake off – each of my best girls baked cookies in different flavours for our guests to snack on in the evening.”
“Break down wedding planning into monthly steps and it’s much more manageable!”
Local florist, VFB the Florist, created burgundy, peach and cream arrangements using roses, dahlias, hypericum berries, astrantia, lisianthus, spray roses and asclepias. “We also asked our florist to make floral corsages to decorate our chocolate ganache and white chocolate ribbon wedding cake.”
Keeping their guests entertained was high on this couple’s priority list for their Berkshire barn wedding. They enlisted a rustic photobooth from Box Photobooths for guests to dip in and out of during the evening. Next on the list was Kris Solo, booked via Alive Network, to play acoustic guitar at the drinks reception, which also featured a gin bar. To party the night away, the couple also booked DJ Gavin Harris from Freestyle Entertainment.
Ellen and Peter jetted off on a twin-centre honeymoon after the wedding, starting with a two-week private tour of Sri Lanka, organised by Kuoni. “We then flew on to Kuramathi Island Resort in the Maldives. It was the perfect honeymoon. We went snorkelling in the ocean in the Maldives and ventured out on Jeep safaris and cultural excursions in Sri Lanka.”
Their best planning advice?
“Be as realistic as possible and don’t be afraid to ask for discounts, especially when you’re buying multiple items from one supplier.”
“We also saved money by working with local vendors to avoid additional travel fees, giving us more to spend elsewhere.”
CEREMONY St Andrew’s Church, Sonning
RECEPTION VENUE Lillibrooke Manor, Berkshire
DRESS Amanda Wyatt at Borrowed Blue & Lace, Wokingham
BRIDESMAID DRESSES Monsoon
ACCESSORIES Tiffany & Co, Astley Clarke, Links of London, Vera Wang at David’s Bridal, Kurt Geiger at House of Fraser
GROOM Black Tie Menswear, Berkshire
HAIR & MAKEUP Liz Patey
LIGHTING Academy Audio
FLOWERS VFB The Florist
ENTERTAINMENT Box Photobooths, Kris Solo via Alive Network, Gavin Harris from Freestyle Entertainment