Emily & Stephen
Be Inspired By This Whimsical Barn Wedding In The Rain
PHOTOGRAPHY BY IRVIN AND CHARISSE, WISTFUL TWO PHOTOGRAPHY
After discovering their shared passions for music, books and movies, Emily and Stephen knew they were onto something special. “I remembered being very excited from our very first date that I’d met someone I had so much in common with,” Emily smiles.
The couple chose the bride’s engagement ring together in Brighton. “I fell in love with an antique gold ring with small diamonds surrounding an emerald. Emeralds are my birthstone and I love anything old-fashioned, and, with my ring being antique, I love to think that my ring has already had a story before reaching me.”
“We were walking along the beach at sunset afterwards when Stephen got down on one knee. It was such a lovely moment!”
After trying on plenty of pretty dresses at The Wedding Mill in Botley, Emily came back to the very first one she’d put on – ‘Prinia’ by Sophia Tolli. “I’d seen the dress online several times and it immediately caught my eye.”
“My dress was more expensive than I’d planned, but I didn’t want to look back and regret not choosing this one.”
The A-line, strapless gown featured hand-beaded lace, a tulle skirt and a French beige underlay. “The fantastic seamstress, Julie at The Bridal Mill fitted it to my body perfectly, even shortening the train so I could dance in my dress! My mum helped me to add drop sleeves in a lace that looked lovely with the rest of my dress.”
Continuing her love affair with all things vintage, Emily opted for vintage gold dancing shoes. Teamed with a headpiece and dried flowers from Folky Dokey, a Derbyshire-based floral creative, the bride created her dream vintage look. The groom gifted her pearl earrings on the day.
Stephen visited Walker Slater tailors in London for his suit. “We found a suit he loved in a gorgeous Tweed, complemented by a burgundy wool tie. He bought his brogues in W.J. French & Son in Southampton – a shop that dates back to 1803! I gifted him cufflinks made to include maps of our wedding venue and Brighton beach, where we got engaged.”
Despite the bride’s wedding car breaking down en route to the ceremony, the bridal party made it on time!
“My four best friends were my bridesmaids. We chose 1950’s inspired dresses to enhance the vintage vibe, so two wore dove grey dresses from Lindy Bop, which let their coloured hair shine, while two wore pale pink dresses to complement their darker locks.”
“My bridesmaids carried crepe paper flowers that we made together for a surreal, Alice in Wonderland style twist!”
The couple married in a civil ceremony at East Horton Golf Club, against a pretty, homemade backdrop of ribbons and paper flowers.
“My maid of honour read a quote from ‘The Bridge Across Forever’ by Richard Bach. My uncle Peter also wrote an amazing poem for us entitled ‘Two Artists’. I’m an illustrator and Stephen is a musician, and the poem was all about the life we’ve made together. It was a wonderful surprise and a beautiful gift.”
The bride walked down the aisle with her uncle Peter to a string quartet cover of ‘Tonight, Tonight’ by The Smashing Pumpkins. “As we left as husband and wife, we walked to ‘The Magic Position’ by Patrick Wolf. It’s a song with lots of happy memories for us.”
“My friends had been joking that they would shout out when asked if there were any objections to the marriage. When the time came, we looked at each other and burst out laughing!”
In keeping with their relaxed barn reception venue, the couple chose a hog roast, served with salads, potatoes and bread rolls.
“We also held our own Great Wedding Bake Off. Stephen’s cousin cooked a pork pie so enormous that it broke the cake stand!”
The couple couldn’t choose one strict theme to follow, instead adding decorations to reflect their passions. “Our amazing photographers, Irvin and Charisse of Wistful Two Photography, summed up our style as whimsical meets vintage meets sci-fi! They captured all the little details I worked so hard to create – we couldn’t recommend them enough!”
Being a professional illustrator, the bride knew she wanted to make her stationery special. “I included whimsical animals and vintage drawings in black and white, with robin’s egg blue and gold accents. The save the dates were printed onto gold balloons that I attached to postcards to look like hot air balloons!”
Reams of bunting and fairy lights added a whimsical feel to the barn, along with the marquee lights. Huge balloons and even golden snitches added decoration. “Our venue coordinator Taura was amazing, I can’t sing her praises highly enough. I loved our wedding planning meetings – I miss them now it’s over! She filled us with confidence that she had everything under control, so we could focus on enjoying ourselves!”
Folky Dokey, who created the bride’s dried bouquet and headpiece, also created dried flower buttonholes for the ushers, as well as corsages for both mums and the bride’s grandmother. “I made additional buttonholes for friends from paper flowers, feathers and silver brooches. My nan organised the centrepiece flowers and arranged them in teapots – she even grew some herself!”
The bride and her mother-in-law made the cake together the day before the wedding!
“After many delicious trial runs and many magazines and Pinterest sessions for inspiration, we chose a decadent chocolate cake with a white chocolate and raspberry layer and carrot cake on top. We covered it in white chocolate ganache, wrapped it in gold cake lace and topped it with gold birds. My aunt made intricate sugar flowers to complement my bouquet and finish the cake beautifully.”
To keep guests entertained, the barn was filled with board and garden games, as well as photobooth props and a ceilidh! Murphy’s Lore, a Celtic band, took to the stage in the evening to lead the ceilidh. “I’ve never seen my nan laugh so much! The band went above and beyond and learned a song from ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ for our last dance, which meant so much to me.”
“We’re not great dancers, but we practised some steps and even added in twirls and a dip for our first dance that made everyone laugh!”
Newlyweds Emily and Stephen minimooned after the wedding at Lulworth Cove. “We asked guests to contribute to our honeymoon instead of a traditional gift list. They were extremely generous, so we are planning a honeymoon for next year!”
“Don’t stress about things being perfect – you want to enjoy your big day, not burn out from the worrying! I used a meditation video to help me keep calm and enjoy every second.”
CEREMONY VENUE East Horton Golf Club
RECEPTION VENUE The Greenside Barn
DRESS Sophia Tolli at The Wedding Mill, Botley
BRIDESMAID DRESSES Lindy Bop
GROOM Walker Slater, London
STATIONERY Emily Harper Illustration
FLOWERS Folky Dokey
ENTERTAINMENT Murphy’s Lore