What a beauty we have for you today! Sophie and Nick perfectly mixed rustic farm vibes with lavish, indulgent treats for their guests. Over to the happy couple to tell you more…
Q. What was the theme/style for your big day?
A. When it came to the style of our wedding, we were led first of all by the date. As it was the day after the longest day, we envisaged a midsummer vibe; festival, feasting, singing and dancing.
The idea then developed to include meadow flowers, prairie ribbons, floral patterns and celestial touches.
Sophie grew up on a farm, and we both love the countryside so nature and the great outdoors also had to be a big part; cue the tractors, Land Rovers and references to our Labrador Maggie.
However, Nick being a lover of the finer things in life, we didn’t want our wedding to be too casual, therefore aimed to weave in a small amount of lavish-ness.
Q. What was most important to you when it came to tying the knot/celebrating your marriage?
A. One of the most important things when it came to celebrating our marriage was music! We understood the power it had – whether that be moving people during the emotional parts of the ceremony, or a fabulous floor filler in the evening. We wanted our whole day to be set to the soundtrack of our lives so far!
To have sentiment behind every aspect of our wedding was also really important to us. No song was there without meaning, no prop was there just for show. Everything had a reason. And our amazing friends and family all added to our day with their own touches. Sophie’s father grew her favourite sweet peas for the flower displays, and parked his beloved old tractor up outside the ceremony to welcome guests. Nick’s aunt drew the cocktail illustrations, Sophie’s aunt provided our daughter Eliza with the same dress Sophie had worn to her wedding 30 years ago. Even the gin was brewed by a family friend. There were so many more we could mention, it was a real family affair!
It was also important to us that everyone felt included, which was one of the reasons we served the welcome drinks ourselves from the Landy – personally welcoming every single guest to the celebrations. We wanted people to feel spoilt, without coming across flashy. With champagne flowing, yet playing tennis on a somewhat rustic home-made court, we like to think we achieved that balance.
Q. How did you chose your venue and suppliers?
A. When it came to the venue, we both knew we wanted something a bit unique. Having both visited the Weald and Downland museum a lot as children, it wasn’t until Sophie’s mum started volunteering there that we realised they could cater for weddings! It also ticked the nature/farm/outdoorsy boxes too. What was great about the W&D is that they didn’t pigeon hole us into a set ‘wedding day’. They let us use the whole site in a way that worked for us rather than being bound by the parameters of how they ‘usually operate’.
Sophie had always wanted to get married in a church, but Nick didn’t feel the same. When we stepped into the Gridshell building we were both blown away. It was the perfect compromise, without feeling like a compromise at all! It had the grandeur and acoustics of a church, whilst also being a short picturesque walk from the marquee, meaning the day wasn’t broken up with a drive between venues.
Our wedding was rather last minute, and with only six months to plan it, and a two month old baby to look after, we started to feel slightly overwhelmed with the task ahead of us. Cue our amazing wedding planner, Sally Gallis who stepped in to save the day, quite literally! Within weeks, she had secured our dream sail cloth marquee, our desired DJ, and the perfect caterer to compliment our midsummer feasting theme. Pretty much all of our suppliers came from her little black book of contacts, and rather than feeling pressured into what they ‘normally provide’ we managed to tailor almost everything to suit us.
Q. Where did you get your ideas and inspiration?
A. Our ideas and inspiration mainly came from what we love. In our eyes, every element of the day needed to be personal.
We both love the British earthiness of the film ‘About Time’ and wanted to incorporate a little of its magic and romance. Hence the phrase ‘It’s about time we got married’ which was adorned onto our invitations, order of service, table plan and menus. It was also quite apt considering we have been together for 11 years!
Even the earthy paper and green font on the print was to match the country/outdoorsy people we are.
We’re both Harry Potter fans and wanted our food to look like a feast fit for the Great Hall at Hogwarts, which our caterers, Kelmsley, well and truly delivered.
The fun and vibrant orange and red circus vibes in the kids tent came from the film Paddington, another British classic and favourite Sunday film of ours.
And not to mention our wedding planner Sally, who came up with great touches which were all personal to us. From gold leopards on the table referencing Sophie’s love of leopard print, to tennis racket’s on the back of our chairs as a nod to Nick’s favourite sport.
Q. Tell us about your dress…
A. I went into Proposals in Chichester with my mum, a friend, and my eight week old baby. To be honest, I just wanted to pick something before the baby woke up! Looking back, I wish I’d spent longer enjoying the process. I had already narrowed it down to just one brand I wanted to try on. The third dress I tried on my friend instantly said, ‘That’s the one. It’s the perfect mix between you and Nick’. Which I thought was odd then she explained. ‘The top part is structured and traditional like Nick, and the bottom part is floaty and boho like you!’. Well that sold it for me. And I also felt great in it. When we went to the till, it transpired it wasn’t even the brand I’d wanted to try on and just happened to be in the wrong place, so it felt like it was meant to be!
Q. What was on the menu?
A. Our welcome drink was Definition Prosecco which we served ourselves from the Land Rover. As said before, it was important to us that everyone felt included so we wanted to personally welcome all family and friends to the celebration.
The food was a real highlight of our day. We’ve lost count of the times people have said it was the best wedding food they’ve ever eaten, which is such a massive compliment. A vegan of three years was so tempted, she even ate the steak!
We knew we didn’t want fine dining as it didn’t suit the setting, plus we’ve both got big brothers with even bigger appetites! A modern menu was also a must, so we ate canapés such as cucumber cups with beetroot humous, cauliflower cheese tartlets with truffle cream, and bacon wrapped apricots with honey.
For main we feasted on flat iron steak, turmeric roasted roots, Halloumi and pumpkin seed fritters and avocado and mango salad with lime- to name just a few of the dishes.
Having a family feasting style worked perfectly as it brought everyone together. It also became part of the styling in a way as it was such a visual delight; sumptuous food, on colourful crockery with elegant edible flowers.
Sophie has a serious sweet tooth, so the puddings had to be special. And there was no need for guests to have just one! There was a selection of tipsy eton mess, sticky toffee pudding, and chocolate brownies. Our friend with a nut allergy was so chuffed he had his own nut free sticky toffee puddings he ate a plateful to himself!
We drank red and white wine which our friends had the tough job of helping us to select whilst on holiday in Cornwall.
We toasted with Nick’s favourite pink Veuve Clicquot.
When it came to a wedding cake, we knew our guest would already be full of delicious puds so decided to spend the money on a cocktail hour instead. Choosing our two favourite tipples, and putting a fun twist on their names, it provided another personal touch whilst helping to pick everyone back up after a big meal and get them ready to party!
For the rest of the evening, our guests drank champagne, prosecco, red and white wine, lager, IPA’s and Chichester Harbour Gin which was provided by a family friend.
Later in the evening, Tin Roof Kitchen rocked up to help soak up the drink with some epic pizzas! When asked if we wanted individual slices or whole pizzas in a box we asked to have both options, meaning people could try each flavour plus our friends with a six week old baby could leave the wedding with dinner all boxed up and ready for home. A total winner for everyone.
Q. What was the quirkiest element of the day?
A. The quirkiest element of our day has to be Hyde Park Brass. We knew we wanted a brass band playing modern classics as Sophie loves that sound, and Sally managed to find us the prefect group. After the ceremony, our guests were all gathered chatting on the balcony under a canopy of trees, then drifting through the woods came the sound of trumpets and saxophones. It really was such a magical moment. People’s faces lit up as we started to follow the band in a procession down to the marquee. Everyone was dancing and cheering. It was like a dream.
Q. What advice would you give other brides looking for a similar style of event?
A. Our advice to other people looking for a similar style is to just do you! It’s so easy to start plodding on the wedding treadmill and blindly follow what a wedding ‘should be like’ and what you ‘should and shouldn’t’ have. Before every decision, take a moment to check you are choosing it because you really love it! For example, my (Sophie) Dad is not a confident public speaker, and we hated the thought of him sitting nervously throughout the whole dinner. He is however, an amazing dancer, so we played to his strengths and did a Father Daughter dance to our favourite song ‘Electric Dreams’ instead. So many guests commented on what a lovely moment it was, and it portrayed our relationship way better than an awkward speech would have.
Q. What was your favourite memory from the day?
A. Favourite memory of the day has to be the ceremony. Closely followed by the brass band procession. Our ceremony was tailored perfectly to reflect us as a couple, emotional in places but also fun and happy. To go straight from the high of becoming man and wife to processing through the beautiful Weald and Downland in the sunshine, with all our friends and family following and a brass band belting out tunes was just perfect!
Q. What was your first dance to/what did you walk down to the aisle to?
A. Never being a couple to follow tradition, I walked down the aisle to a choir performing Stormzy, Blinded By Your Grace. We felt it was the perfect choice as the song was a favourite of ours, plus style wise it felt like the modern day equivalent to a hymn. The choir, London Contemporary Voices, learnt the arrangement especially for us so it felt like such a unique and special part of our wedding. Hearing that song now brings back a wave of love and happiness.
The choir then performed another favourite, You’ve got the love by Candi Statton and finally, Believe by Cher. This is another example of choosing what was right for us. The lyrics of Cher are not overly romantic, but it was the first cassette tape I (Sophie) ever owned bought as a gift from my brother for my 10th birthday.
Our first dance was ‘You Send Me, by Aretha Franklin’ from the film the holiday. Gosh we sound like such rom com geeks but we’ve always secretly liked to think Nick is Jude Law and I’m Cameron Diaz ha!
We followed up the first dance, with our own DJ set. Our DJ for the evening ‘Stick it On’ allows your guests take the music helm! All they need to do is submit their three song set list and DJ name before the big day, and Stick It On organise the music and oversee each participants turn so they know what to do. We’re so glad we went with this option because although we were blessed with amazing weather, it meant the dance floor could have been left empty with people choosing to sit outside. Instead, everyone wanted to watch their friend or family member hit the decks, and it kept the dance floor buzzing all night long!
Planner and Stylist: Events By Design www.events-by-design.co.uk
Photographer: Katie Rogers www.katierogersphotography.com
Venue: Weald and Downland Living Museum www.wealddown.co.uk
Marquee: JimJimmy Marquees www.jimjimmy.co.uk
Flowers: Sussex Florals www.sussexflorals.co.uk
Bride’s Dress: Supplied by Proposals www.proposals.co.uk
Designed by Fara Sposa www.farasposa.com
MUA: Rosie Hobbs www.instagram.com/feeling.rosy/
Hair: Matt Tindal-Vincent www.instagram.com/matthew_tindal_vincent
Groom’s attire: Gresham Blake www.greshamblake.com
Bridesmaid’s Dresses supplied by ASOS
Bridesmaid’s Hair: www.instagram.com/sarah_elizabeth_hairandmakeup
Stationery and signage: www.hannahreaddesign.co.uk
Catering and Staffing: Kelmsley Catering www.kelmsley.co.uk
Pizza Van: Tin Roof Kitchen www.tinroofkitchen.co.uk
Brass band: Hyde Park Brass www.hydeparkbrass.com
Choir: London Contemporary voices c/o Toast Functions www.toastfunctions.com
Draping: Not Your Average I Do www.notyouraverageido.com
Props: The Toast www.thetoast.co.uk
Hay Bales: Bales of Fun www.balesoffun.com
Crockery and glassware: Classic Crockery www.classiccrockery.co.uk
Games: To Have and To Hire www.tohaveandtohireweddings.com
Linen: 88 Events www.88events.com
Catering Supplies: Pure White Line www.purewhiteline.co.uk