Today’s beautiful homespun English country wedding features Lizzie and Will, school friends who slowly fell in love over the years and married in July last year. Featuring stunning photography from Jennifer Jane, Lizzie’s gorgeous milk maid braids, origami cranes, a Jenny Packham veil worn by three sisters; plus ethical loveliness in the form of locally supplied goods, organic flowers and homemade decorations. This is a wedding truly after our own hearts and we couldn’t be more in love! Let’s hand over the reigns to Lizzie and Will to find out more about their big day…
LIZZIE + WILL’S STORY
We first met at the tender age of 16, when Will’s parents moved to Devon, to the farm where we had the evening reception. We went to the same Sixth Form and were always close, finding a mutual love for brownies and endless cups of tea. Will was always fixing my broken-down car so I could give him lifts home from school. We ended up going to University in the same city, but it wasn’t until a few years later that we became a couple. When Will’s younger sister broke her arm, I spent lots of time helping out on the farm and riding her horses; Will was always conveniently around! We grew closer and after a particularly chilly hockey match I departed for Will’s to be greeted by a hot bath and roast dinner. From there on, we never looked back.
We had booked a romantic get away for our two year anniversary at the Wild-De-Go in Cornwall. En route we planned to stop at Braunton Burrows, a favourite place of ours to explore and get lost, thanks to my appalling sense of direction. At the last minute we took a detour to Crow’s Point – a beautiful, secluded spot, hidden away down a toll road, with old abandoned shipwrecks to explore and dunes to play in. Having raced to the top of the dunes, we sat down to admire the view. Will reminisced about the last few years together, prompting some soppy remarks and popped the question there and then. Will later confessed he had intended to wait until our anniversary but, with the ring burning a hole in his pocket, he decided he couldn’ wait. It was perfect for us!
The proposal was completely unexpected; Will had spent many a secret afternoon, while I was busy at work, consulting with our local jewellers to have my engagement ring made. I still can’t believe I didn’t catch on!
We had our hearts set on holding our reception at Will’s parents’ farm, but were unsure where to hold our ceremony. Finding somewhere local that would allow us to hold the ceremony only narrowed our options.
We looked at some incredible venues but when we first approached Forde Abbey, we were blown away by the beautiful setting of the historic monastery. We knew our guests would be able to stroll around the stunning gardens and enjoy the magnificent grounds just as we had.
My wedding dress ‘Esme’ by David Fielden, was chosen from Carina Baverstock Couture. They were fantastic at teasing out how I envisaged my dress and gave me a stunning collection of gowns to try on. I knew I’d found the perfect dress when I tried on the ‘Esme’, and then (much to my sister’s amusement) spent another hour strolling around the shop in it!
My eldest sister kindly lent me her Jenny Packham veil, which my middle sister had also worn at her wedding. I was the last of the three to wear it down the aisle!
I wore a beautiful set of sapphire earrings that my sister and husband have given me as thank you from their wedding, to match the engagement ring Will had designed. My bridesmaid lent me her beautiful Cala Lily style bracelet with a stunning pearl to finish the look. My hair, in a plaited up do, was decorated with cornflowers from In Bloom Devon.
The 5 bridesmaids wore multi-way dresses in pastel blues and greens and were a perfect choice; complimenting their body shapes beautifully. We had many a laughs learning how to tie and knot them! The girls all looked absolutely stunning, with loose, natural hair and flower headbands. My mum, living in Turkey, bought the girls beautiful silk pashminas to accessorise.
Our wedding theme very much reflected English country life. We wanted our decor to be synonymous with the relaxed surroundings in the rolling hills of Devon. We used straw bales as seating and uncovered old barn doors to use as tables. Various artefacts from the barns were unearthed, including old storm lanterns for table decorations. We also hand decorated jars, made some homemade bunting to incorporate the English countryside theme. Will even made some homemade signs from an old pallet destined for the bonfire! A family friend kindly loaned us fire braziers crafted by a local blacksmith to keep the guests warm; they were works of art in themselves.
We added our own twist on the countryside theme, using handmade origami cranes to decorate the apple trees. Will and I spent 6 months in Asia before the wedding and it was from an old Japanese tradition that we drew our inspiration. The saying goes that if you fold 1000 cranes before your marriage then you will have eternal good luck. We used old Korean subway maps to make them while we were away and brought them back for the wedding!
We also set up a games field on the farm with an assortment of games for all ages and levels of sobriety: croquet, badminton, boules, table tennis and juggling to name a few. They were a great hit with the guests and we had rematches the following day.
The groom and groomsmen all looked the part in their navy suits from Debenhams formal hire, with matching ties and pocket squares, complementing the bridesmaids’ dresses. The buttonholes were handtied with raffia and included fragrant herbs. The groom’s included a beautiful blush pink rose, to match the bridal bouquet.
THE HAIR + MAKEUP
My sister did a stunning plaited up do for the day. She did a spectacular job, and the hair even survived the drive home in the open top car!
Zoe had previously done my make up for a friend’s wedding. She was the absolute perfect choice, creating a natural look for myself and the five girls. I can’t recommend her enough.
Jen captured our day beautifully, capturing some stunning shots. Her dedication couldn’t be faulted, taking such care and effort to view our venues and prepare for some special shots. We both instantaneously felt at ease with Jen behind the lens, and will treasure our precious moments captured by her forever.
We had a traditional wedding cake made by Will’s grandma, with a handmade sugar craft flower topping with blush roses and sweet peas. Our friend also made us some beautiful cupcakes, decorated with home grown lavender and pastel shades to match our theme.
We were keen to use local suppliers throughout the wedding and so found a perfect match with In Bloom Devon who supply organic, home-grown flowers lovingly grown in the Devonshire fields. We had a fantastic array of wildflowers to decorate the venue with. The bridal bouquet was a stunning handtied bouquet of scented blush roses, cornflowers, nigella and delicate herbs. In Bloom Devon made every effort to match my wedding theme and incorporate my favourite flowers.
The live band Little Informer were absolutely fantastic, playing a whole assortment of live music from 80s to modern day hits. With only a weeks notice, they’d even learnt our ‘first dance’ song, which was a complete surprise to Will and I, and was performed beautifully. It was testament to their talent that we were all on the dance floor from the first set until midnight, when they finished their closing set.
Drawing some inspiration from the wonderful world of the internet blog, we handcrafted our own invites. Will knocked together a design, and many hours of cutting, sticking and some artistic differences we had a beautiful set of invites. It allowed us to add our own personal touch- something that we held very important.
Our registrar was fantastic on the day and answered any last minute queries. We had a civil ceremony with two readings; an excerpt from ‘Captain Corellis Mandolin’ by Louis de Bernières and ‘Love is like owning a dog’ by Taylor Mali.
THE FIRST DANCE
We chose ‘Better Together’ by Jack Johnson. It holds lots of treasured memories for us and our band completely blew us away by learning it for our first dance to perform live.
THE BEST BIT
From start to finish I loved every moment- cliché I know. It was touching to see all of our friends and loved ones together celebrating with us. The speeches were particularly memorable for the both of us. Steering away from tradition, all five Bridesmaids, who know me from different periods of my life, gave a small, touching speech of their own. They were beautifully delivered and had us in both tears and fits of laughter. The Best Man’s speech provided some cracking entertainment, however I’m not sure it should be put to print so you’ll have to take our word for it!
You can handcraft so many beautiful things if you have the luxury of a little time. Rope in some friends to help and look at blogs/ Pinterest for inspiration. We handmade shed loads, including our invitations that saved a heap of money. It’s also great fun and a good way to add your own artistic touch.
Suits / Debenhams Formal Hire | Bridesmaids / Multiway dresses
Hair / Lizzie’s sister | Makeup / Beauty With Zoe | Transport / Will’s old Frogeye Sprite
So stunning Lizzie and Will! We are absolutely in love with Lizzie’s milk maid braids, and love the natural, local, homemade ethos behind their wedding – right up our street! Thanks so much to Lizzie and Will for sharing their story of their big day and to Jennifer Jane for sharing her beautiful photographs.