Real weddings

Real Weddings at The Granary Barns

MATTHEW + NICOLE

19.04.19

Matthew and Nicole began planning their wedding day when they were living in different countries (Nicole in America and Matthew here in the UK)… not an easy feat! But with the help of our team and Hall & Co., they were able to create the day of their dreams!

Take a look at a selection of images by the talented Olivia & Dan, captured on their special day back in April. If you’re looking for some serious style inspiration coupled with wonderful memories, this is the blog for you…..


PICKING THE DRESS

I really thought I wanted a Hermoine de Paula, super embroidered, ‘English Rose’ with an edge type of dress. I tried on probably 20 dresses in that style and something just wasn’t working! Finally, I had one of my bridesmaids suggest I try something on the simpler side and that was it. Waterworks. Loved it immensely, and that ended up being my dress!

I chose my dress because it made me feel like me! I’m not a flashy dresser, but I do like really polished numbers, like a jumpsuit, blazer, etc. And I felt like my dress had a touch of that. And what girl doesn’t dream about having a Vera Wang dress!

 

SUITED & BOOTED

Matt got his suit from an amazing place called Bespoken For where they make custom made to measure suits. The company is run by an ex banker. He used to buy suits for work from Savile Row, but got tired of paying a lot of money. So they founded their company, which uses the same materials that they use on Savile Row, but they are manufactured overseas to keep costs down.

Matt picked all the materials and finishes himself, down to the thread colour. He even had the wedding date embroidered on the inside!  So it was super special. Matt wore navy, and so did his groomsmen. The best men wore grey, so that they would stand out.

Matt chose everything! And it was a surprise for me. I didn’t see it until the day.


THE VENUE & DECORATION

I was living in the states when we started planning our wedding, and I spent HOURS upon HOURS looking at venues online. We were open to anything and everything. From a city wedding, to a manor, to a hotel, to a warehouse. It was lots to narrow down. But believe it or not, Granary was the first place we viewed. And after meeting the GG’s, we were sold! The team put us completely at ease. We viewed one more venue on the same day, and we just had a feeling that nothing would beat Granary. From the style of the barn (rustic but modern), to the GG’s, to the ease of access for my travelling family, to the proximity to nearby hotels. We were in love.

We wanted to do something that felt like us… traditional, but a little bit edgy and unique. We didn’t really have a theme! It was more like.. ‘Oh that would be cool! Let’s do that!” Hall and Co were AMAZING at taking alllllll our ideas and organising them and bringing them to life! From the pampas, to the AMAZING flower pillars/turn photo backdrop! Such creativity and talent!

We were BEYOND PLEASED with the results. ABSOLUTELY BLOWN AWAY. It literally brought tears to our eyes. We could not have imagined anything more perfect.

 

FLOWERS

Hall and Co did all of our flowers and foliage! We started planning a little late in the game.. and it was in the midst of me moving from the states to the UK! So Matt and I wanted one place to help us in our frantic state.

When it came to the floral styling, what didn’t we choose??? During our first meeting with Hall and Co, we wanted really really classic white and greens. (Right after the royal wedding, I think that was having an effect on me!! Ha!) But even then, we knew we wanted something statement making!

After we thought about it more, we started chatting about some other fun ideas that we liked and saw on Pinterest. And we arrived at… PAMPAS! From there, the traditional vision transformed a bit with the help of Jo and Kerry, and we arrived with EXACTLY what we wanted! Still lots of white and greens, but with these beautiful blushes and nudes incorporated that I think complimented the barns perfectly! You’ll have to ask Jo the flower names… all I can remember was pampas and the David Austin roses!


BRIDE SQUAD

I had 11 bridesmaids. My dad was in the army, so I moved so many times as a kid and young adult. So I had all of my best girl friends from each place I’ve lived by my side! We’ve all managed to keep in touch!

The ladies got to choose their own bridesmaids dresses. I actually picked a paint swatch of creams and told them to go wild! I LOVED the outcome!

When I think back to my favourite moments with my 'bride tribe’, if I’m honest, it was just being together for the whole week prior to the wedding! It was honestly a once in a lifetime moment to have so many ladies from all over the world together in one place! But a memory that stands out is just having that first glass of bubbles in the morning, and us all being in one large room chatting and getting ready together. And taking an impromptu group picture on the bed, where we were all feeling like Victoria Secret angels I think!

THE VOWS

I felt SO emotional, and so excited just before the ceremony. Not really nervous. Just so eager to see one another, and with SUCH an adrenaline rush!

It felt indescribable to have all of our friends and family at our wedding day. It was one of the most important thing about the day for us. We are honestly so blessed with the most amazing family and friends. It gives us goosebumps just thinking about it. You could FEEL the love in the room!

The ceremony itself flew by. We remember blips, but the emotions were just running so high!

 

CATERING

Hall and Co catered for our wedding, the best ever.

They provided the most gorgeous canapes, regular and vegan. An out of this world parma and cheese starter, THE BEST shin of beef we’ve ever had, and a salt caramel Eton mess! Oh, and can’t forget the most AMAZING Puerto Rican inspired tacos made especially for my Puerto Rican family.

 

PARTY TIME!

We were SO pleased with how the Granary looked for the wedding reception. I think the bits that stand out were obviously the flowers, along with the lights and candles. Oh and the order of service and seating chart! STUNNING!!!

We knew our evening entertainment had to be a band all the way! We chose the Teenage Kicks. They knew our first dance song, and honestly we just love a bit of rock/indie!

Our first dance was ‘I Love You Baby’ by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. We saw Jersey Boys together when we first started dating, and it’s been on rotation ever since. And we just love the part when it all kicks off with the brass band!

Would we like to do it all over again? YES YES YES. And it was a unanimous YES from our guests too. Honestly trying to find an excuse to get together like that all over again! The music, the drinks, the energy! Amazing.

 

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

Olivia and Dan. We just found them by googling! We loved that they were a husband and wife duo, and they were just so amazingly sweet from the first conversation we had with them! We love their moody, cinematic style that was really candid and natural. We wanted someone who could capture the ‘real’ moments! And they so did!

We received our photos 8 weeks after the wedding, which was expected. First thoughts? SO MUCH JOY AND EMOTION. It was like reliving the most perfect day all over again! We were actually BLOWN AWAY by how perfectly they captured everything!!

My favourites photos have to be all of the ceremony shots. And the reactions during the speeches! And the dancing photos! (Nearly all, so hard to choose!) The great thing was that they were so unobtrusive. We barely noticed they were there, yet they got the MOST amazing shots!

We’ve printed a few images since the wedding. But we plan to make a book as a gift to our parents.

TAKE MY ADVICE...

 After having some time to step back and think about our day what I remember the most is the absolute tidal wave of love and support we felt from our family and friends. I don’t think we’ve ever felt as loved and blessed. And honestly, we remember Parris and Kerry (from Hall & Co) being absolute ROCK STARS! They treated our day like it was theirs. They made us feel so special and looked after. And no request was too big or small. They were completely composed, and handled everything with ease! That makes a HUGE difference, because we felt like we could be at ease and just enjoy the day!!

Thinking if there things we chose to have on the day that I wouldn’t have now, I cant say I would’ve changed a thing. I think we did just the right amount. We didn’t get too caught up in favours, table games, etc. Which I’m so glad we didn’t! Because we had  the best time and didn’t really miss it! We did do favours though, but just kept it simple. Mini eggs and a shot of café patron! Because why not. ;)

If I could give a top tip for future brides/grooms it would be to forget convention, and do what you want! It’s your special day, and it should be fun! At the end of the day, everything will work out. So just enjoy every moment, because it will be over before you know it! 

Real Weddings at The Granary Barns

SAM + CLARE

05.05.18

Not everyone has their wedding day planned out to the finest detail, and with so many options nowadays, it’s no surprise!

Sam and Clare weren’t really sure where they wanted to get married when they began planning their big day, but after looking around a variety of venues, they fell in love with the barns and, as they say, the rest is history!

See a selection of images from their special day last May taken by the epic duo Lina & Tom :)

Now it’s over to Mr & Mrs Edwards… enjoy!

PICKING THE DRESS

I couldn’t wait to go dress shopping and decided to try everything on and keep an open mind. That said, I always swore I’d never go for a tight dress, I thought I’d go for an a-line design as it’d be more flattering. However, that wasn’t the case - dresses I thought would suit me just weren’t right and I ended up going to six shops and before I found the dress for me.

In the end, one of my bridesmaids suggested a tight fitting Maggie Sottero dress as a wild card and I loved it the second I put it on. I adored the detail, the cut and the antique ivory colour - it was the first dress that made me feel truly special.

 

SUITED & BOOTED

Sam treated himself to a new suit from Gray Palmer in Saffron Walden, which is also where we hired suits for the groomsmen. I felt it was equally as important that he felt as special in his suit as I did in my dress, and buying one that was best cut to his shape made such a difference. The groomsmen’s suits were a similar colour, but Sam wore a contrasting tweed waistcoat.

We went shopping together and we agreed unanimously on the same one. He looked gorgeous!

THE VENUE & DECORATION

We genuinely had no idea what sort of venue we wanted, and had loads of fun exploring country houses, castle and hotels. However, none of them felt right - for many reasons. Our photographers recommended the Granary Barns, which we hadn't heard of before.

We visited on a cold winter’s day when the stunning Christmas tree and decorations were up and it was definitely love at first sight. Along with the striking beauty of the barns, we loved the team too. We felt they absolutely got ‘us’ as a couple and knew we could trust them to deliver the best possible day for us. At lots of venues you feel like you’d be ‘just another wedding’ but we never got that feeling at Granary Barns. We talked about the venue all the way home, full of ideas and excitement - that was the only venue that made us respond in that way.

We didn’t feel the need to massively decorate the barns as they are so uniquely beautiful already. The only ‘major’ addition was fairy lights twisted round the beams in the Flint Barn and draped over the dance floor in the Granary Barn. We wanted the day to really reflect us as a couple, so while we made a nod to Sam’s love of football at the church ceremony through our order of service and signage, we opted for a radio theme at the Barns because we met working in radio and we really love it still. We sourced old fashioned radios on eBay, our tables were named after radio shows and Hall & Co. - whose team created our beautiful centrepieces using the radios - lent us a wonderful old radio sideboard which stood proudly in the hallway.

Our colour theme was ‘colourful’, so bright spring flowers were one of the main focuses of our decor. In addition to the beautiful centrepiece displays we placed our bridesmaids bouquets in vases and dotted them around the venue, and we re-used our pew ends from the church, hanging them outside. We had a few smaller touches too - creating a ‘wish you were here’ table in the hall in dedication to close family and friends no longer with us and we had table football in the courtyard; the scene of many well-contested games during the day!

 

FLOWERS

Our flowers were done by Julia Pasfield at The Little Wedding Shed. We met her at a wedding fair, and while it was clear she was brilliant at her craft, we got on with her so well and felt she’d be truly invested in our day, so that sealed the deal. I also liked that she sources her flowers locally.

We opted for seasonal spring flowers and we wanted them to be a variety of bright colours and textures. Julia set up a Pinterest board suggesting different options based on what was in season, but to be honest I trusted her to choose. I was lucky that peonies and ranunculus were in season - the bouquets and displays were stunning, she absolutely delivered.

BRIDE SQUAD

I had four bridesmaids; my closest friends and my cousin.

I was really worried about bridesmaid dresses, as I really wanted each of them to feel really confident and happy in their outfits. The only thing I was sure of was I wanted a neutral colour so the colourful bouquets stood out, but I was relaxed in terms of style - I just wanted them to feel good. I ordered loads of dresses in different styles from ASOS and amazingly they all loved the same one, so it was actually really easy and they all looked gorgeous in them.

Getting ready with my bridesmaids in the morning was the perfect start to the day. The sun was shining, we had the best team doing hair and make up, my dad took his job of keeping Prosecco flowing very seriously and it was just so relaxed and happy. We walked together from my parent’s house to the church singing wedding songs and had a huge hug outside… I loved every second of it.

THE VOWS

I felt the most excited and happy I’ve ever felt about anything. I guess there was some nervous energy but I genuinely couldn’t wait to see Sam and become his wife!

Our top priority when planning the wedding was making sure we could afford to have all our family and friends there. It meant we cut costs on luxuries like a cake (which I baked myself), we didn’t have a wedding car and we created all the stationary ourselves.. with the help of some talented friends. I am so glad we did, as it was one of the best things about the day knowing all our favourite people were there with us.

I can remember everything… I think… but it did fly by. I’d been told by lots of people to try and soak it all in because it goes by really quickly, so I made a real effort to.

 

CATERING

We chose the incredible Hall & Co. Event Design. We loved their menu and approach - the team was both friendly and relaxed but super organised - and from stalking their Instagram, I had a pretty good feeling the food would be outstanding and presented beautifully. We love food so it was really important to us it was of a really high standard, and they more than delivered.

Our food tasting was one of the best days of planning, I’m not going to lie! We chose a variety of vegetarian and meat canapés, including the hugely popular tomato soup shots with mini cheese toasties, mini Yorkshire pudding with roast beef and pea, mint and feta blinis. They were demolished! As I’m vegetarian I really wanted to  make sure the veggie guests were well catered for, so we opted for shared antipasti sharing boards for starters and BBQ for main, which worked particularly well with the warm sunny weather we ended up having. The puddings were the showstoppers though - each guest had four mini puddings, chocolate brownie, sticky toffee pudding, lemon tart and pavlova and strawberries. So many brides apparently don’t eat much on the day… but there was no way I was missing out on those puddings.  We had SO many compliments about how brilliant the food was.

 

PARTY TIME!

The Granary looked stunning for the reception. Obviously the barns speak for themselves and as it was the height of spring, the grounds were full of colour. As it was a sunny day our drinks reception was held outside in the courtyard and it just looked beautiful. 

We really wanted a busy dance floor all night long, playing our favourite tunes. We booked a friend of ours to DJ which meant we could ensure the playlist was as we wanted.

We found picking a first dance song so difficult and it took us months! We opted for Clean Bandit, Symphony. We both love Clean Bandit, the lyrics were ideal and as it’s up tempo, we felt it was a bit more fun too.

I spent most of the evening on the dance floor, singing and dancing with my favourite people feeling the happiest I’ve ever felt. It doesn’t get much better! And yes, I wish I could relive the whole day over and over.

 

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

The super talented and brilliant Lina and Tom were our photographers. I’d met Lina years earlier through work and after browsing their website I knew I’d want them for my wedding - luckily, Sam agreed! I loved that their photos seemed ‘real’ and natural, as well as hugely creative and beautifully composed. They are both so friendly I knew we’d love working with them and feel like we were in safe hands.  I emailed Lina the day after we got engaged to see what their  availability was in spring 2018 and got them booked before anything else!

We had a few preview images the day after the wedding, but the full collection arrived in just under two months. It was SO exciting when they arrived - we spent hours looking through them, reliving the day and getting a little emotional. As expected, the photos were beautiful and captured our day perfectly.

Tom took some amazing photos of our house rabbit, Clifford that we love! I’m not sure I could pick a favourite - although the sunset shots are probably the most visually striking.

A selection of prints are on the wall in our living room, and an album is on the way!

 

TAKE MY ADVICE...

I honestly look back at our wedding and know I loved every second of the day. Sam and I both agree that sitting at our wedding breakfast and seeing a room full of people we love all there to support us was the best feeling. Throughout the day there were so many special moments and highs; such as when I read a poem Sam had written before we went to the church, or walking down the aisle as husband and wife, or surprising Sam with a video featuring players from his football team during my speech or eating the delicious food or dancing the night away… it was just all the best ever.

I think if we did it again we wouldn’t change much at all. The only thing I regret is not getting photos with certain people - I don’t have one with just me and my brother, for example. I should have thought that through more beforehand. 

I’m really glad we spent time on personal touches. For example, we found photos of either me or Sam with each wedding guest and had them printed, using them as place cards. On the back we wrote where and when the photo was taken. It took AGES! We weren't in the room when people sat down, but apparently the reaction from the guests was brilliant - so many people told us how much they loved them and a year on, when we go round friend’s houses we often spotted the photos one display. So I’d prioritise those details again for sure.

I think we’d possibly ditch the first dance and cake cutting. The first dance felt a bit cringe to me - we’re not really ‘look at me’ type people and it felt a bit like that. Plus… you kind of know that once everyone has taken a photo they just stand there awkwardly (sorry… I know that’s very cynical!). I feel the same about the cake cutting… it felt a bit pointless. The cake eating though, was great! Don’t be afraid to ditch any of the traditions if you think they’re not ‘you’.

If money is tight decide between the two of you what really matters, then prioritise those things and make savings elsewhere.

Invest in a good photographer and videographer. You spend a lot of time with them on the day, plus, you will always have those photos and videos to remember your day.

Make it YOUR day, personal to the two of you. There will no doubt be people who will have a less positive view on some of your choices but stick to your guns. It is absolutely worth the effort.

Real Weddings at The Granary Barns

CALUM + FINOLA

07.07.18


Let us transport you back to a warm summers day last July last year, when we had the pleasure of creating wonderful memories with our bride and groom, Finola and Calum.

With flashes of tartan, gorgeous blooms from Clare Jones, hessian runners mixed with pale pink shades and a room full of family and friends, Mr & Mrs MacAulay had a wedding day dreams are made of!

Scroll down to hear Finola’s thoughts on her special day, the planning stages and how you shouldn’t sweat the small stuff! Accompanied by a delightful selection of photos by the talented Liam Smith Photography, we hope you enjoy!

PICKING THE DRESS

I tried to keep an open mind and not overthink what kind of dress I wanted prior to going to any shops. I had heard people say that if you did, you would be disappointed. That the dream dress maybe wouldn’t quite fit the way you had always imagined or look quite right on you.

I booked my first appointment for one sunny summer Saturday at Pure Brides in Norwich. I had no idea what kind of dress would suit my shape so found it hard to get started. The girls at Pure Brides helped pick out a few different designs to try on. The second dress I put on was a Sottero & Midgley dress. As I walked out to reveal it I caught a glimpse in the mirror across the room. From that point on a couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, my mum and twin sister were crying and I knew that we had found the dress. The crisp white embellished lace layered over a light gold material underneath really made the detail pop.

It was perfect, and I looked no further - it really did make me feel so special.

 

SUITED & BOOTED

Calum had an easy decision. His family are Scottish, so he was always going to wear his kilt. The groomsmen hired kilts with similar colours to the MacAulay Hunting tartan that Calum and his family were going to wear with blue waistcoats and grey tie. Calum wore a grey waistcoat with navy tie so that he would look slightly different to the rest of the boys.

 

THE VENUE & DECORATION

I found picking venues to view really difficult. I felt like I had looked at every website of venues in East Anglia by the time we actually booked some appointments! During a week off work I just decided to pull the trigger and booked appointments for four different venues over the following couple of weeks.

The Granary Estates was the first venue we looked at. We both liked the character and charm of the Flint Barn and how this seamlessly connected to the glass walkway that looks out on to the courtyard garden. I think the big moment was as we walked around the corner and saw the Granary Barn - I think both our jaws dropped to the floor! It was such an amazing space, with high ceilings, rustic beams, and an airy feel. We saw another couple of venues but kept comparing them back to the Granary Estates. There was always something that didn’t quite match up to the emotions we both got on that first visit to the Granary Estate; so the choice was obvious.

Predictably, I had a Pinterest board full of ideas and themes that I had put together over the couple of months following our engagement. One theme stuck out as clearly being an overall favourite. A mix of soft pinks and lavenders with touches of hessian and jute twine: the typical country rustic look. Hall & Co helped make this theme a reality with soft white drapes, fairy lights, and hessian table runners.

The Granary Estates prop shop had loads of items that compliment the barns perfectly including the tree stumps for the table centrepieces, the crates used to make a photo display, and the ladder for the table plan. I spent countless evenings gluing lace and twine to jars, printing invitations and stationary, and scouring Etsy to ensure everything matched perfectly.

We wanted to add a personal touch and do something that would break the initial awkward small talk on tables where not everyone knew each other. Calum came up with the idea of adding two lines onto the back of everyone’s place name - the first stating how that person knows the newlyweds and a second with a funny comment or quote that would need explaining to the rest of the table. This was harder than we originally thought, but it was so worth it. As we sat down for dinner, we carefully watched as one by one friends and family found them and had to explain theirs to the table, some stories more embarrassing than others!

 

FLOWERS

Clare Jones is one of the recommended suppliers for The Granary Estates. I checked out her Instagram account and fell in love with some of her creations. I told her the colours I wanted, emailed some pictures of things I had found and left the rest up to her.

I showed her a picture I had found on the Granary Estates website of some hanging flower spheres I liked, she laughed and said that the picture was actually of her own wedding a couple of years earlier. I think it was at that moment I knew we were on the same page and I could trust her to create beautiful but relaxed arrangements - she just ‘got it’!

My favourite pieces were the hanging flower spheres in the Granary Barn and also our gorgeous welcome arrangement at the door of the Flint Barn.

 

CATERING

We decided on Hall & Co for our catering as we felt the sample menus really suited our tastes. Canapes included slow braised beef rib croquette and cornbread with goats cheese and tomato jam. They were delicious, and people were fighting over who got the last ones. Luckily we didn’t have to worry about that as they saved a special tray reserved just for us, which was such a nice touch.

We decided to have a traditional sit down wedding breakfast and after much deliberation our menu consisted of cured salmon with horseradish creme fraiche to start, followed by slow braised pork belly with confit garlic mash with the obligatory crackling. We finished with salted caramel s'mores brownie. We received so many compliments from our guests on the quality of the food that Hall & Co produced.

 

PARTY TIME!

I spent five years in Scotland as a teenager and much preferred the ceilidhs to the discos. Although Calum is Scottish he had never actually been to one, so I had to really persuade him how much fun they were. It is such a good way to get everyone up and dancing. He eventually agreed and I found The Ceilidh Tree that were able to provide the ceilidh band and then also did a DJ set afterwards which gave us the best of both worlds.

It was so much fun! By the end no one cared if they were doing the right steps, we were all just enjoying flinging each other around and laughing while we did it. The evening went so quickly and I wish we had had double the time to dance!

 

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

We found Liam Smith online and loved his documentary style of photography. His pictures are beautifully shot and edited. They really stood out to us which is why we jumped at the opportunity to book him. Liam was so lovely and made us both feel at ease, at times we didn’t even realise he was there, but he managed to capture the day perfectly.

A couple of weeks after the wedding we received a slideshow that he had made out of some of our photographs. We relived the whole day again while watching it, the photographs had captured so many things that we had forgotten about or missed. The natural composition of them really enables you to appreciate how much everyone was enjoying themselves and have provided us with moments of our special day that we can keep forever.

 

TAKE MY ADVICE...

Your wedding day is probably the only day in your life where every single person you have ever loved, family and friends, are all together in one room - all there to celebrate you as a couple and the start of your new adventure as husband and wife.

I found the thought quite overwhelming, but it was simply just amazing. The day goes by so quickly, before you know it, it’s time to say goodbye to everyone. I feel for that reason it’s really important to be able to enjoy it and remember that if something isn’t quite how you imagined or doesn’t quite go to plan, only you know about it, and to be honest it really doesn’t matter!

Once you wake up on the day, let everyone else take the reins and just enjoy spending time with all the people most important to you.

Real Weddings at The Granary Barns

EMMA + DAN

10.12.18

Winter weddings are always so magical at the barns. With our 18ft Christmas tree taking pride of place in the barn, fairy lights twinkling throughout and the toasty fire pit crackling outside, our rural venue is the perfect place to celebrate your wedding during the winter months.

Emma and Dan knew that they wanted a barn wedding and we were happy to oblige, playing host to their winter celebration at the barns in December. Our recommended photographer, Tom Halliday, was on hand throughout the day to capture every smile, embrace and now cherished memory, for Emma & Dan to keep and look back on in years to come. Scroll down to see a selection of these photos and Emma’s words of wisdom…!

PICKING THE DRESS

I had always known that I wanted a dress with sleeves but had no idea what shape to go for. The girls at Fleur De Lys Bridal in Saffron Walden were really helpful and the first time I went they allowed me to try on as many dresses as I wanted in whichever shape. I actually held a dress the first time that didn’t turn out to be ‘the one’. After having another look online I picked a few more dresses to try on at another visit and that was when I found my dress. 

The moment I put my dress on and came out to reveal it to my Mum, Nan and bridesmaid Sian there were tears in everyone’s eyes and I knew it was the one. I loved the beautiful intricate detail on the sleeves and bodice which I felt were perfect for a winter wedding and the illusion back added something extra special to the dress. The floor length plain veil I chose really made me feel like a bride and everything came together perfectly on the day. 

 

SUITED & BOOTED

The suits were from Anthony Formal Wear in Colchester; Dan & I went to choose them together but I really wanted Dan to choose how he wanted himself and the boys to look on the day. He went for a navy suit with a navy and cream puppytooth waistcoat. Dan had a scoop neck waistcoat and a matching hank and bow tie, whilst the rest of the groomsmen had burgundy ties and hanks to tie in with the bridesmaids. They all looked really smart on the day! 

 

THE BRIDE SQUAD

I had four bridesmaids and three flower girls. Sammi, my best friend for the past twenty-six years was my maid of honour and then Alex, Charlotte and Sian were my other bridesmaids. Sammi, Alex, Charlotte and I have travelled some of Australia together and have shared a lot of happy memories over the years. I couldn’t have imagined getting married without those four girls by my side; they truly are such a special bunch and I’m very lucky to have them. Elsie, our beautiful daughter was one of our flower girls as well as our niece’s Elys & Ruby; they all looked so lovely on the day with their gold and cream dresses and fur boleros.

I saw the bridesmaids’ dresses soon after Dan & I got engaged and fell in love with the colour and the lace sleeves. I knew they would be perfect but they were out of my budget so I hung on and ended up managing to get 20% off them on Black Friday luckily. They were from Coast and all the girls were so pleased with them and felt beautiful in them which was so important for me. I loved staying at the cottage the night before with all my favourite girls and the morning getting ready with them all was perfect. Also when we all came out of the ceremony we were all singing and dancing to the exit song and had a big group cheers at the end. They are all stunning girls and I was so proud to have them stand by my side. 

 

THE VENUE & DECORATION

The Granary Estates was the first venue we looked at after we got engaged and we both came away knowing it was the one. I had always imagined I would get married in a barn and the Granary excelled all of my expectations; both the flint and granary barns are stunning with lovely old features. During Christmas the barns are literally magical, with an 18ft Christmas tree in the granary barn and fairy lights flicking away in the flint barn it was the perfect place to have our winter wedding. The glass walkway linking the two barns and the courtyard are also beautiful features of the barns.   

Hall & Co transformed the flint barn into a soft seating area post ceremony and they also hung a canopy of fairy lights over the dancefloor which added to the Wintery feel. We went for mercury gold, deep burgundy and textured green foliage as the themes for the wedding. They were incorporated throughout the day to create the rustic winter wedding we had both imagined. Our suppliers were amazing and transformed the venue into everything we had ever wanted with beautiful flowers, foliage and candlelight used as the centrepieces. We also wanted to add personal touches to our day so I handwrote the chalkboard and place names and we made our wedding favours; also decorating the venue with photos of our loved ones special days.

 

FLOWERS

Our flowers were by the amazingly talented Emily of Emily Tallulah Flowers; Emily is my good friend Grace’s sister and I had previously seen weddings and other events she had supplied for in the past and knew she would be perfect. Not only is she very kind and warm but she has an ability to transform your ideas into everything you could want and more. We had beautiful burgundy and hanoi ranunculus, Juliet roses, peach avalanche roses and quicksand, as well as textured green and gold foliages. I was literally obsessed with my bouquet and couldn’t have been happier with all the gorgeous flowers that filled the venue on our big day. The colours of the flowers fitted perfectly with the venue and our theme. 

 

THE VOWS

I actually felt quite calm before the ceremony, I think the girls were quite surprised but I was really excited and looking forward to seeing Dan at the end of the aisle. We had chosen our favourite song for me to walk down the aisle to and as soon as I heard that the tears started. It was so special for us sharing the day with our family and friends; Sammi and my cousin Alice did beautiful readings. We chose them because the words really resonated with us both and to a certain degree summed up our relationship perfectly. 

I can still remember every part of the ceremony; Dan & I had written personal vows that neither of us had read before and it was an extremely emotional moment, I could barely get my words out through the tears but I am so glad we chose to write them as it made the ceremony feel even more personal. The Flint barn looked perfect with the canopy of fairy lights, Christmas tree in the corner and the beautiful floral aisle ends; it was the perfect setting for our ceremony. 

 

CATERING

We chose Hall & Co as our caterers; the day we first met with Elizabeth she was so professional and lovely and took the time to really get to know our likes and dislikes. We had lovely canapes and a two course wedding breakfast. For the mains our guests had a choice of slow braised pork belly or shin of beef, both with mash and spring greens. With me being a chocaholic the obvious choice for desert was a dark chocolate mousse, coffee mascarpone and a spiced caramel biscuit. We had so many comments from our guests to say how amazing the food was on the day.

 

PARTY TIME!

We had around 60 additional evening guests join us to celebrate in the evening. We decided to go for a DJ, Andy of Soundwave Disco who has been an old family friend was the obvious choice and did a great job on the night. We chose the acoustic version of Sam Smith – Latch as our first dance; it was actually one of the things we left until last to choose but after listening to it a few times we knew the words were perfect. Dan was brave enough to lift me on the night (after nearly knocking me out a couple of times at home on the ceiling) at the exact moment the confetti cannons went off which came together exactly as we wanted it to. 

 

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

Tom Halliday was our wedding photographer and he was absolutely amazing on the day and the lead up to the wedding. He’s such a genuine, friendly bloke and his style of photography is just out of this world. We had seen some weddings he had shot before and immediately knew we wanted him to be our wedding photographer, other than the venue he was actually the first supplier we booked for our wedding. His photos are just absolutely stunning and I couldn’t even begin to pick a favourite as they are all so beautiful and sum up the day perfectly. They arrived in our inbox within 5 weeks which we were so pleased about as we got to re-live the day all over again so soon after the wedding. I’ve had quite a few printed off and put in frames ready for when we move into our new home in March and we can’t wait to see the album. 

 

TAKE MY ADVICE...

I remember the first moment I saw Dan at the bottom of the aisle and feeling so happy and lucky to be marrying him. Also just looking around at our amazing family and friends and feeling so lucky to share the day with all those we love the most as well as the big tear-jerker moment when my Dad came in the room with my daughter Elsie to see me for the first time. 

Because we had 2 and a half years to plan the wedding I think it all went pretty smoothly in the end as we didn’t ever really need to rush anything in the planning process. The last decision we made which was probably one of the best decisions was to have a videographer; the day flies by so quickly and now we look back and are so glad we have those memories to watch for the rest of our lives. OW Productions was a great choice and we are both so excited to watch the video back! 

My top tip would just be ENJOY every moment and don’t stress over the little things. Everything will fall into place on the day and if it doesn’t go exactly as you planned then don’t worry – no one around you will notice it as all they care about is you and the love you have for each other. 

Real Weddings at The Granary Barns

NATHALIE + KIERON

17.11.18

Last autumn, we had the absolute pleasure of welcoming Nathalie, Kieron and their loved ones to their wonderful November nuptials.

With a strong vision of how they wanted their big day to look, the future Mr & Mrs Bates had lots of personal touches from fairy lights, to sparklers and of course, their amazing personalised neon sign (scroll down…!).

Here we take a look back at their special day, captured by the talented Three Flowers Photography… some serious wedding inspo coming your way!

PICKING THE DRESS

I knew I wanted a fitted fishtail dress but I was convinced I wanted sleeves with it being November. I thought I’d need to be warm. I tried on A-LOT of dresses (all with sleeves) only to end up choosing one without. When you try them on in the shop they are all in larger sizes usually so even when they pin them to fit the mesh of the arms, it still looks baggy and it was hard for me to imagine it being smaller although I’m sure it would have looked lovely. I felt far too covered up in all of them so ended up with a sleeveless with mesh that made it appear strapless.

Confetti and Lace in Lakeside, Essex became my second home I must have tried nearly all of the dresses and it’s a very big shop! I loved the atmosphere in there and always felt very relaxed compared to other stores I went to. It was by far my favourite and I would definitely recommend it.

I didn’t expect to have that ‘wow’ moment, but I did feel quite emotional the first time I tried my dress on. I was just with my mum and was getting really fed up with the whole process by this point, but it felt so special that I did well up slightly. The back and the train are what did it for me, which is why I didn’t have a veil because I didn’t want to cover that part of the dress up. 

 

SUITED & BOOTED

Kieron got his suit from Anthony’s in Billericay and he designed his suit from scratch. He doesn’t really wear suits so he wanted to get a nice one that he could wear in the future. I went with him because I was scared of what he’d pick (there was a lot of talk about larger checks and out there patterns) but I liked the ones he chose.

He picked a navy check and a very lary lining, and the other boys just had navy so he stood out but not too much. The boys clubbed together and bought him a pocket watch so they all had matching ones with their names engraved on them which was really nice and they looked great with the waistcoats in the photos.

 

THE BRIDE SQUAD

I had three bridesmaids; my sister and my two best friends. The dresses were the first and easiest thing I sorted out. We got engaged just before Christmas, so I nabbed the dresses in the sale from early in January. I knew I wanted a champagne gold colour and found them online, they were ISSA at House Of Fraser and were in the sale for £40 from £120. I grabbed about 6 different sizes so they had options and got the girls to try them on, luckily they all liked them!

We all got ready together in the morning which was nice. It was stressful at times with 4 people doing their own hair and make up in one room.. but was nice to share the morning with them and make memories.

Half way through me and Kieron having our photos taken, the girls appeared with glasses and a bottle of prosecco which I was very happy to see as I’d been outside for about 40 mins and was freezing.

 

THE VENUE & DECORATION

We knew we wanted a barn, but I didn’t want a classic Tudor-style with dark beams so that limited the options. When I saw The Granary Estates on Instagram I fell in love with the flint walls and light feel. We spent a weekend driving around looking at venues, we saw about 15 barns in one weekend and The Granary was the last one we saw, much to Kieron’s annoyance! When we turned the corner and saw the big barn I looked at Kieron and said this is the one! Luckily, he didn’t disagree. 

We loved the fairy lights and the drapes in the main barn so Hall & Co did those for us. Other than that, we kept it very simple letting the flint and grandness of the barns speak for themselves and opted for greenery instead of flowers to keep costs down but also because I liked the simplicity of the greenery and the lights.

 

FLOWERS

My mum managed to convince friends to let her chop up their gardens for greenery and bought some extra bits a few days before from our local flower stall, where she also bought the flowers for our bouquets which she made herself. I was very impressed, she’s very arty like me which came in useful.

 

THE VOWS

I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be standing waiting in the corridor. I’d had a few glasses of prosecco for dutch courage, but when the doors opened and I saw everyone looking at me I panicked and basically dragged my dad down the aisle as quickly as I could. I remember blinking loads while walking down, thinking don’t cry, don’t cry, your make-up! In one photo you can see a pool of tears in my eyes but luckily they didn’t spill out!

Once I was at the front with Kieron I felt less nervous but found myself squeezing his hand and fidgeting from one foot to the other. I was willing it to hurry up as I’m not good with attention being on me (hard to avoid on your wedding day) so I don’t remember much of the ceremony. My sister read a poem which she’d written about us which was amazing and nearly got me.

 

CATERING

We used Crown Catering Cambridge and they were amazing, we’ve had so many compliments on the food! Mainly the butternut squash and chilli soup which really helped warm us up after being outside for photos. Then we kept it simple with roast chicken and had our wedding cake (lemon drizzle) as dessert so we cut the cake after the main course and did the speeches while they cut it up in the kitchen. It worked really well as then the cake didn’t go to waste and we still have loads left in our freezer!

 

PARTY TIME!

We only had 20 or so more guests in the evening. Kieron wanted a band but the budget didn’t allow for it so we booked the Granary DJ package. We were a little worried as we had never met or heard them DJ, but we used their online system to pick out our ‘must play songs’, all of which he played and the rest of the music was amazing. The dance floor was packed the whole night!

We didn’t really have ‘a song’ so we found it quite hard to pick our first dance song, however I loved our choice and the confetti cannons were great, although it did all go in my mouth! I enjoyed the party so much more than I thought and after the first dance was over, I really relaxed. I had a bit more to drink and just felt like we were on a night out with our friends, who also didn’t leave the dancefloor!  

 

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

Charlotte from Three Flowers Photography was our photographer and, along with her second shooter, was amazing! We loved them.

We had a tight schedule for photos as in November the sunset is much earlier, but they were on it. 

I saw that Charlotte had shot a November wedding at the Granary the year before and loved her style. She knew the venue and even though it wasn’t summer, the photos looked amazing. We’re SO happy with how they turned out and were so lucky with the weather and the sunset! 

We had the photos 5 weeks after the big day, although she sent me a few early so I could get them printed for the family’s Christmas presents. I haven’t made a book yet but it’s on my list of things to do. 

We definitely have some favourites, we are also lucky that some of the guests had good cameras too so they captured some really nice natural moments too. 

 

TAKE MY ADVICE...

It’s very cheesy but I just remember being so happy, surrounded by everyone you love, I thought it would be daunting, but it was great. And all the things you think will bother you or that you’ll worry about on the day, don’t, you just don’t care about anything else that’s happening. And dancing, we spent what felt like the whole night on the dancefloor.

One of Kieron’s groomsmen filmed the whole day on his Go-Pro which was so nice to have because we couldn’t really remember so much, it really does go by in a blur. We watched the ceremony and speeches a few days later and saw so many bits we’d missed. 

Also trust the staff - they are doing it every week so they know better than you do. I printed out a master list of the day and gave it to the staff and also my mum, the bridesmaids and groomsmen so everyone knew what was happening and we could relax.

Real Weddings at The Granary Barns

RIO & GRANT

16.12.16

We love a Winter wedding here at the barns and instantly fell in love with this couple and their vision last December. 

Rio and Grant knew that they wanted a wedding around Christmas time with lots of greenery, hessian and candle light; the perfect rustic theme for our Granary Barn. With unique decorative features and a wonderfully festive theme throughout, this couple created a stunning wedding day captured beautifully by the talented Tom Halliday.

Check out the bridesmaid dresses and stunning bursts of red in Rio's flower crown and lip colour...gorgeous!

PICKING THE DRESS

I always imagined myself having a big princess dress but I ended up having the opposite. The first day I went to try dresses on I tried on my dress & thought it was beautiful but quickly moved on to others not taking much notice of it. I ended up putting a deposit down on another dress that was completely different, a princess dress. Over the next few weeks I kept looking at photos & just didn’t think it was ‘the one’ so I went back to Bride All in Exning & Lynne & the team were brilliant & let me try on lots more dresses. When I came back to my dress I knew then it was the right one & couldn’t believe I didn’t choose it in the first place. I absolutely loved the detail on the back of the dress & the long lace sleeves. It was perfect for my winter wedding. On our wedding morning Grant had bought me a gorgeous pair of Pandora earrings that I wore, my bridesmaids had got me a garter from The Wedding Garter Company as my something blue & my parents bought me a Tiffany horse shoe necklace for good luck which I wore too. I had Jenny Packham heels & a plain floor length vail which made me feel like a real bride.

 

SUITED & BOOTED

Grant, the groomsmen, Grant’s stepdad & my Dad all wore the same dinner suits which we hired from Moss Bros in Cambridge. We bought each of them a pair of silver cufflinks to wear too, personalised with their initials on. My Dad’s cufflinks had ‘Father of the Bride’ & ‘I loved her first’ on & Grant’s had our wedding date & the name of our first dance song ‘Let’s Stay Together’ on the other. I wanted Grant to look a little different from the others so he also wore a half moon black velvet waistcoat from ASOS to make his suit a 3 piece & he wore black brogues from Dune. I also bought him a brooch containing a picture of his late father in which he wore on the inside of his jacket throughout our day. Originally I wanted the men to wear tweed suits but it was Grant who chose the dinner suits & insisted on having them. I am so glad he did as I think they looked so smart & matched the winter wedding theme perfectly.

 

THE BRIDE SQUAD

I had 4 bridesmaids, my 3 best friends & my little sister. They are all gorgeous girls with lovely figures so it was easy to find a dress to suit them all. I ended up choosing their dresses from Chi Chi London. They were backless & had long lace sleeves similar to my dress. I wanted the girls to all look slightly different so they all had their hair styled differently but all incorporating plaits which I did myself. I bought them each a pair of Pandora flower stud earrings to wear on the day that matched their dresses. The morning of the wedding Grant had bought me & all the girls a large white umbrella in case it rained which was so thoughtful. Luckily the weather held out & we didn’t need them but we did use them to have some great photos taken in the evening which was a lot of fun. I had such an amazing day & having my 4 special girls to share it with made it all the more perfect.

 

THE VENUE & DECORATION

Grant & I both love Christmas so much so we knew we wanted a Christmassy, winter wedding & we wanted a venue that would look beautiful in the colder months. The Granary Barns was the first & only venue we looked at & as soon as we saw it we knew it was where we wanted our reception. We loved the huge barn with flint walls & thought it would go perfectly with our winter, rustic theme. The grounds are so gorgeous too & with all the trees we pictured them looking gorgeous in our winter wedding photos.

I had no colour palette in mind when planning the wedding I just knew I wanted it all very natural & rustic with lots of greenery, hessian & candles. The small barn was decorated with fairy lights provided by the barns & I provided 2 large free standing silver stags which the GG’s placed in front of the large mirror which looked gorgeous as you walked in. I had lots of small decorative tables that had lots of candles in lace jars. We also used the Granary’s wooden ladder to display framed ‘love’ quotes from my favourite Disney films. In the large barn the tables all had hessian runners & had lit up twig trees on log plates as centre pieces surrounded by lots of candles & pinecones. We named each table after one of our favourite Christmas songs, these were displayed on wooden stands in the middle of the tables, and they matched everyone’s name cards which were also made from wood. The top table centre pieces were made by Grant. They were long planters that had lots of large pillar candles in surrounded by pinecones, ivy & holly leaves & winter berries. Grant also made our table plan which was a large wooden plank surrounded by ivy & decorated with snowflakes. We wanted something different to a guestbook so Grant made a wooden guest board that I decorated with our names & wedding date & everyone signed it with white sharpie pens. The barns all came together so beautifully on our day, we really couldn’t have imagined it to be so perfect. One of the massive talking points of the day was the ginormous Christmas tree in the large barn, it was absolutely stunning & it completely made our Christmas wedding perfect. It looked amazing in our wedding photos too.

 

FLOWERS

Fiona Pilcher did our wedding flowers. The bridesmaids all had large bouquets of gypsophila tied in hessian bows & the groomsmen had matching buttonholes also tied with hessian. Grant & his best man had white roses with some winter greenery. My bouquet was a mix of white roses, pinecones & winter greens all to tie in with the other flowers. My favourite flowers from the day were the red roses I had on my head piece. I absolutely loved them & they finished off my wedding outfit.

 

THE VOWS

Grant & I always knew we wanted a church ceremony in the village where we live. It means a lot to us as its where my parents were married & it is where Grants Father lays to rest. With that in mind it was always going to be very emotional for us. The morning of the wedding was so exciting for us both & it just flew by. The nerves for me really kicked in during the time I was alone with my Dad waiting for the car to collect us. I think this is also when the nerves kicked in for Grant too especially as I was nearly half an hour late! When I stood outside the church waiting to go in with my Dad I was extremely nervous & emotional, I could barely hold back the tears. I was actually like that throughout most of the ceremony. One very poignant moment for us was the giving of the rings. Grants wedding ring was made from the gold of his father’s wedding band so that was very special to him & a very emotional moment for me when I gave it to him. Once the ceremony was finished turning around to all of our family & friends smiling, clapping & cheering was such an amazing feeling & walking down the aisle as Mr & Mrs is a moment I will never forget.

 

CATERING

To start we had ham hock with homemade piccalilli & quails egg. For the main we wanted a traditional Christmas dinner but to make it a little different we had the joints of pork served on a wooden board at the tables & 1 guest from each table was given an apron with their name on & asked to carve the meat for everyone. This was a lot of fun & had everyone up & talking. To finish off we had Grant’s favourite, sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce. We also gave each guest their own individually wrapped Terry’s chocolate orange cupcake. For our evening food we had sausage, bacon & fish goujon baps with little pots of chips being handed around to guests in baskets. Everyone loved this idea. The caterers were also kind enough to wrap up some food for Grant & me to take back to the hotel with us. We had been so busy with our guests so had no time to eat anything so this was lovely.

 

PARTY TIME!

We had a fantastic party with around 60 additional evening guests coming along. We loved how the dance floor & the bar were all in the same room as it meant everyone mingling in the same area all night. It was also lovely not having to move tables to clear the dance floor as guests could sit around & watch others dancing. We used the company Letterhire.com to have a huge lit R & G on the dance floor which looked great as you walked into the barn & went lovely with the black & white dance floor. We had Soundwaves Disco DJ for our evening entertainment & he did great at playing ours & the guest’s favourite songs. For our first dance we had the song ‘Let’s Stay Together’ by Al Green. We always knew we would use this as it had been ‘our song’ for years. It even started playing the first time we went to taste our wedding menu. We had such a great time during our party, lots of laughs & dancing with our friends. It would be amazing to relive the whole day!

 

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

We used Tom Halliday for our wedding photography & he was the perfect choice. He had done a couple of friend’s weddings before & when we saw his pictures they were just stunning. They looked so different to any other photos we had seen. They looked more like art rather than the generic wedding photos we often see. We had so many compliments from guests at how gorgeous our photos were. During the evening Tom put up a slide show of photos he had taken of us for all our guests to see which was a lovely touch. When we first saw the photos we were over the moon. Since having them I have created a wedding album myself using a website & we have a huge collage of framed photos on our wall at home. It would be so hard to just pick a couple so we went with lots instead.

 

TAKE MY ADVICE...

One thing I would say to any future bride & groom’s is if you have it in your budget to get a videographer definitely do so. The wedding day goes so quickly & having a video to watch back really brings the whole day back to you. It’s especially lovely being able to re-listen to the speeches & see your wedding from others point of view.

We cannot believe our wedding day was almost a year ago. The year has just flown by so quickly. Looking back on our day there is honestly nothing we would change. The day ran so smoothly & everything looked so beautiful. All our guests along with ourselves had such an amazing day filled with love & laughter. It really was our dream wedding. It couldn’t have been more perfect.

Real Weddings at The Granary Barns

CLARE & RICH

01.10.16

Working as a florist in the wedding industry, this bride had big plans for her special day and wanted to use her incredible talents to style the barns, bringing out the rustic charm, elegance and beauty on display.

With personal touches including Rich's man cave adorned with Welsh flags, apples picked from their garden and displayed in Clare's bouquet (by florist extroadinaire and best friend Julie) to wearing her Grandma's pearls, Clare's creativity shone through. We personally loved the tables being named after different biscuits, a not so subtle nod to the groom's nickname! After looking at this array of images captured by Ben Minnaar, were sure you'll agree this autumnal wedding was a perfect reflection of this unique and happy couple...

 

PICKING THE DRESS

I bought the first dress I tried on (I only tried 4 dresses in total!). I always knew that I wanted something simple and timeless and hopefully found that in the dress in wore from Heart Brides - a mobile dress company specialising in dresses under £1000). I teamed this with my Grandma's pearls and jewellery Rich had bought me for my birthday.

Rich always knew he wanted to wear a traditional morning suit so we hired a lovely navy blue one form Cadge Menswear in St.Ives.

My bridesmaids looked stunning on the day in their lace dresses from House of Fraser. I was so honoured to walk down the aisle with them.

 

THE BARNS & DECORATION

Having worked at the barns before I knew as soon as we got engaged that this had to be the venue where we tied the knot! Luckily for me, Rich fell just as quickly in love with the barns and we didn't even need to step foot in another venue.

We received so many compliments on the venue and on how much everyone enjoyed themselves at the Barns. We had the most magical day and the barns provided the perfect, warm and friendly setting. We will always be so grateful for the part the GG's played in helping to make our day so special.

As well as catering our wedding day, Elizabeth Hall helped with the wonderful styling and decoration. We couldn't have done it without her and nothing was ever too much trouble! Elizabeth and her team are a dream to work with!

 

FLOWERS

There is so much beautiful floral inspiration in autumn and I have always loved the gorgeous flower varieties, colours and textures that are available. Julie (best friend, bridesmaid and fellow florist) and I let what was in season guide our flower choices and we chose designs that we felt complimented the time of year.

Flowers were the main and most important decor for our wedding day and we had a ,lot of fun working out ways to have flowers dress the barns from the floor to the beams. Seeing it all come together on the day was incredibly special and walking down the aisle seeing all of our creations adorn the barns really was magical.

 

CATERING

The food was incredible and being big foodies, this was such an important part of the day for us! Elizabeth and her team really are wonderful and were so helpful throughout the whole process. As well as being super delicious, the food was so beautifully styled which was a massive bonus. We can't recommend them highly enough. 

 

PARTY TIME!

When it came to the evening, Festival Nights Band provided the music and they went down a storm! The dance floor was packed with guests of every age, all night long. They performed our first dance request beautifully and dancing to the band was one of the highlights of the whole day.

 

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

Photography was really important for us and we knew this was something we were happy to invest in for the day. 

I remember coming across Ben Minnaar's work a few years before we got engaged and have always loved his style. The way he captures those unique, candid moments is really special. I contacted Ben immediately after we booked the date and thankfully he was available! Ben (and Sam) captured the joy of the day and we have the most stunning pictures which we'll love forever more.

 

 

Catering & Styling - Elizabeth Hall Event Design

Floristry - Clare Jones Floral Design & Julie Zimmerman

Photography - Ben Minnaar Photography

Band - Festival Nights Band

Dresses - Hearts Bride & House of Fraser

Suits - Cadge Menswear

Real Weddings at The Granary Barns

INGE & CJ

28.01.17

When a couple take the barns and put their own personal touch on things, it makes for a unique and beautiful setting. When your brides profession is a wedding planner however, the resulting wedding is nothing short of spectacular!

Meet Inge & CJ, our wonderful bride and groom from January this year. With a background in the wedding and events industry, Inge took the opportunity (albeit with some challenges) to transform the barns in to a whimsical, moonlit forest; the perfect setting for a wedding breakfast and reception unique to herself and her husband-to-be. With tree lined walls, a canopy of twinkling lights, delicious food and wonderful friends and family, this couple made sure their special day was one to remember.

The photography, by Granary Suppliers Lina & Tom, captured the ambience of the day perfectly, making sure no detail was left unseen. We spoke with Inge about different aspects of the day, from the flowers to the first dance and how all of these touches made the day unique to them as a couple. We particularly loved their church reading and Inge's advice at the end.....we couldn't agree more. 

PICKING THE DRESS

So I’ve never been a ‘THE dress’ kind of person - I mean I've watched my fair share of “say yes to the dress” as much as the next but I've never been one to worry about the way I personally look on the day (I’m more about the styling and the overall look and feel for everyone rather than what the dress looks like). I also had the added complication of being six months pregnant on the day and so I was never going to be able to wear whichever dress I wanted to. One thing I knew for sure though was that I would never, ever be seen dead in a Grecian style tent of a dress!

I’m a big believer that you should wear a dress which you feel fantastically fab in no matter what it looks like or what your pre-conceptions of a style may be and so I never had a set style in my head and I also didn't want a ‘too many cooks’ situation. So one Thursday just before heading off to work I took myself into town and had a browse of some nice high end high street stores and wandered into Coast. My eyes fixed onto a two piece with a blush sequinned crop and a lovely blush skirt; I tried it on and that was it! I walked out with it that day!

The skirt sat just on top of my bump and the top was gorgeously sparkly! It wasn't white, but who cared and I bought it on my own, but then I've always been a strong decision maker and I love it. I still do! The great thing about my wedding dress is that I can whop it out at any snazzy occasion either the skirt with a simple top or the top with black jeans and I get to relive a little piece of my wedding whenever needs must!

 

SUITED & BOOTED

CJ was never going to be told what to wear by me and even though I tried once (or twice) I got told very firmly from the beginning not to try to tell him what to wear. He told me that if my dress was going to be a surprise so was his suit. And I'm glad it was. He picked out the most stunning blue three piece from John Lewis and when I saw him down the aisle my heart skipped a beat and I couldn't believe I was about to marry the most handsome man I had ever met.

I was told after the wedding that the size shirt they sent over was huge and way too big - a detail that was only noticed only the morning of the wedding. But Tom (from Lina and Tom) stepped in as the pro he is and helped CJ to tuck and adjust it to make sure it sat just right! Phew!

 

THE VENUE & DECORATION

The barns was the one from day one. After working in a fair few venues in the area I had always been impressed by the professionalism and care of the Granary Girls; partner this with a venue that ticked all of our boxes and after dragging CJ along to have look we booked on the dot! We needed a venue which had the separate space for a creche (our daughter was 4 and had invited a couple of close friends so we set up a fun cinema den for them); the cleanliness and the space was spot on and the fact that we could host everything indoors made it the perfect venue for our winter wedding.

In all honesty we didn't book the barns because we wanted a barn venue or look, we booked it because it was spacious enough for us to create an indoor Narnia style forest. When we were younger we carved our names into a tree in a small forest which was half way between our childhood houses, around 12 years on it was the spot where CJ proposed and so we were adamant we would re-create this for our wedding day.

We enlisted the help of Elizabeth Hall and set about hiring in live trees to create the forest, festoon and lanterns to create a night sky and succulents and candles for the table to reconstruct a forest scene. I must say it was pretty tricky getting those trees in and out of the side doors but once it was all set up the look came together and blew us away.

 

FLOWERS & FOLIAGE

As I said our priorities lay with creating a forest rather than focusing on table top decorations. Elizabeth Hall styled in some succulents for our tables but we didn't go for any floristry displays apart from my bouquet. I opted to go with the Tayler Studios for my bouquet and got a glorious winter flower arrangement from Grace. After seeing her workshop I held every trust in her that she had great style and the know how to great fantastic flower pieces. So after showing her a couple of pictures of some wintery bouquets I had in mind I left it to her to create the final piece. 

I don’t like to step anyones creativity and I like to trust the suppliers I work with and so even though she was surprised I gave her full creative control (not something most brides do) I was not disappointed and she delivered a stunning bouquet fit for a forestry winter wedding.

 

THE VOWS

As a wedding planner I am of course a big believer of doing things properly and seeing everything through and although some may disagree I am in the camp that if you're going to get married it should be in a church. I am not religious and my husband isn't overly, so the decision to get married in a church wasn't a traditional or religious one. I believe that the day should be separated out into the more formal and contemplative church service to be followed by a celebration in another space and so this is why we opted for a church. Lets not forget why you're getting married. Its not to just have a huge party, wear a great dress, drink bubbly and dance. It is to make a commitment to one another to support each other, be true to each other and be a team for life and this needs to be taken seriously. 

We got married in Burwell Church which is our parish church and our vicar Eleanor was incredibly flexible and approachable through out the planning process. The most memorable moment for me was when we included a promise to our daughter and baby in utero to love and support them throughout their lives after our vows to each other. And I sobbed through the whole service. We walked out of the church to James Brown and the organist played the Game of Thrones theme tune whilst we sign the register. 

We also chose to have a reading from Kalil Gibran the Prophet which sums up our way of working our relationship perfectly:

 

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.” 

 

There were times being a bride/wedding planner when I found it really hard to let go. I felt a huge amount of pressure to create something spectacular because of my background and my job. And I felt as though everyone would be judging me that extra bit. But just as I was considering spending an obscene amount of money on a real snow blower I had a meeting with Parris and she managed to calm me down and talk me out of feeling under pressure to perform. I found it invaluable to have the GGs to chat weddings to because they understand and could relate to what I was trying to achieve.

I struggled with the supplier relationship balance at times, and I think because I hired in industry friends to help me achieve my vision there were definitely times when the lines were blurred but having my husband to talk things through with helped me to detach myself from being a wedding planner and to just be a bride to be. Towards the end I even hired in my own wedding planner to get her to tie up loose ends for me and put an eye on everything. (Aimee I'm looking at you!) 

Being a natural control freak - as every wedding planner is - definitely helped because everything was written down and checked over. But being able to work with people I trust and who could understand my vision was most important. And couldn't have asked for a better collaboration of suppliers to pull together my wedding day.

 

TIME TO PARTY

CJ and I have a shared love of music and dancing. CJ is a very good dancer and although I like to think I'm good at dancing too there is no way I would keep up with him. But also no way that we would be able to have any ordinary first dance.

We decided not to go for a love song or anything which represented our relationship, rather a great song with a great beat that we both liked dancing to so settled on Janet Jacksons 'All Nite (Don't Stop)'. 

We then came up with a routine which was perfected and pulled together by our dance friend Bailey Francis and proceeded to pop, lock and robot our way through our first dance.

 

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

LINA AND TOM!!!!!!!! The bestest most fantastic most fabulous photography dapper duo you will ever meet. They are incredible and their awesome talent not only managed to capture some really great pictures but the feel, emotion and ambiance of the day. Getting a photographer is my number one priority for any of my couples but finding one which you connect with and who understands you is even more important. Many try to skimp on the photographer because they don't understand their fees but when you realise that this is the only lasting physical memory of your wedding day their importance starts to sink in. And getting the photos back is an unforgettable experience. Just being able to sit in your own house in your own space after the wedding with a glass of vino to relive the day is priceless. I have to say I'm not a fan of stuffy posed photos and my favourites are all the spur of the moment shots including a great one of me shaving my pits! But in all honesty they managed to capture all the little looks and the glances of our family and friends which made our day come alive on print.

Lina even bought along a pick me up snack for the adrenaline dump after the ceremony - they honestly went above and beyond and covered everything. The best money I have ever spent! 

 

TAKE MY ADVICE...

Being a ‘Real Bride’ has made me better planner, I now understand the day from all angles and can enlist on my own experience to run the day. I wrote a blog piece after being married with my own ten top tips which you can find on my website (read the blog HERE). But in all honesty in hindsight the things I most remember are the laughs, the enormous amount of love and the feeling I had in my heart for the whole day. 

If you're planning to get married - don't forget that the most important thing that happens is that you marry the one you love. The frills and fancies are great and make for a spectacular day. But if you can walk away from it feeling fantastic and in love then it was a huge success. 

But my one top tip and wedding gripe is to make it your own! Don't get suckered into one type of theme or style if it doesn't reflect you two as a couple. You need every penny to work for you and to be spent on reflecting you, your relationship and your love. So put down the Pinterest and look deep into yourselves to find your own wedding inspiration.

 

Wedding Planning - Inge Louise Events

Styling - Elizabeth Hall Event Design

Catering - Cambridge Dining Company

Lighting - Pro Event Hire

Photography - Lina & Tom

Flowers - The Tayler Studios

Dress - Coast

Suits - John Lewis