Real Weddings Southampton: Nichola and Sam’s relaxed rustic wedding
This informal rustic wedding featured a beautiful barn venue filled with plenty of personal details. Our WED2B Real Weddings feature reveals more…
Nichola and Sam met on New Year’s Eve in 2013. “My friend had set me up with a guy that he worked with,” she says. “I had the flu, was very drunk, had a very gravelly voice from a sore throat and was dressed like a cat, but something about that seemed to work for him! Sam and I hit it off straight away and arranged our first date for a few days later. It was a typical ‘cinema and dinner’ date, but when he suggested sharing a huge plate of nachos as our meal I knew I’d found someone great!”
The big question
The couple both love travelling and exploring, so Sam planned the perfect overseas proposal. “He suggested a two-week holiday, starting with a week in Norway to climb the amazing Trolltunga cliff (something on his bucket list),” says Nichola. “For the second week, we went to Barcelona, which is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go. He proposed on the 4th September at the top of Trolltunga, on a secluded clifftop overlooking a fjord. It turns out this was his reason for suggesting the holiday in the first place. I was totally surprised, bewildered and ecstatic! We then had an amazing time celebrating in Barcelona!”
Discovering her dream dress
Nichola bought her dress in WED2B’s Southampton store about a year before the wedding. “The staff were friendly and great at listening to my queries and giving me honest advice,” she says. “I purchased the Wyatt dress from the Signature Collection and I just knew it was the one as soon as I saw a picture online. It exceeded my expectations when I tried it on! I loved the vintage look and all the lace and beading. I also loved that it wasn't a traditional dress. One of the best things though is that it wasn't restricting. It was so comfortable and easy to move in, despite being figure-hugging.”
A gorgeous rustic wedding venue
“We knew we wanted a barn-style, rustic wedding and had settled on a venue that we were sure was the one,” says Nichola. “Then we heard about Gorwell Farm, not far from where we live. Within minutes of viewing it, we knew it was perfect. Gorwell Farm in Abbotsbury, Dorset, is a large stone barn with an outside wooden bar and licensed pagoda. It was simple yet stunning, perfect for a rustic wedding. It’s also set in the middle of the countryside, with no noise except the birds and an abundance of amazing wild plants, flowers and trees.”
A relaxed big day
The couple married on the 18th September 2019. “Neither of us like being the centre of attention, so we wanted a more relaxed style of wedding,” says Nichola. “My dad walked me down the aisle to an acoustic version of ‘Firestone’ by Kygo, which is a personal song for us from our time travelling in Australia. We also had our groomsmen and bridesmaids stood either side of us, to keep things more informal and relaxed. Our ceremony was short and sweet, no readings just the legal formalities and an exit back down the aisle to ‘Crazy In Love’ by Beyonce and Jay Z. Then we were able to just have a great time with family and friends.”
“We prepared a buffet for guests to graze on and there was a musician who kept everyone entertained while we popped away for some quick photos,” says Nichola. “We then moved into the barn to take our seats for the speeches before a self-service hog roast."
Rustic wedding styling
“We wanted to keep things simple and rustic. The venue was so beautiful that all we wanted to add were some personal touches,” says Nichola. “We made all the decorations, not only to keep costs down but also to add some personalisation. Cycling is something that we both love and we have a passion for cycle touring, so inside the barn, we had bicycle wheels on the walls, which had been sprayed white and gold and had pictures of us pinned on the spokes. Along the ceiling, I had three chandeliers, which I made from several hula hoops, painted white with flowers and vines attached. We also had three long rows of wooden trestle tables, simply decorated down the middle with vines and succulents. Succulents are my favourite plants, so I also incorporated them into my bouquet.”
Beautiful burgundy and blue
“Outside we had a marquee where we displayed our cake table with a guest book, a sweetie stall and our buffet tables,” says Nichola. “Opposite this, we had a children's area with a small tent, various outdoor games and a large homemade photo frame with a variety of props. The colour theme for our wedding was burgundy and blue. Burgundy is my favourite colour and, after lots of research on Pinterest, we found the perfect colour pairing. We had burgundy bridesmaids' dresses and blue groomsmen's suits and we also used the colours in our flowers, favours, seat pads and napkins. Our wedding cake was a naked cake decorated with fruit, to keep with the rustic wedding style, with four alternating tiers of vanilla and chocolate."
“After dinner, my husband and I donned a couple of retro server hats,” says Nichola. “Then we personally served our wedding cake as dessert, accompanied by ice cream and pavlovas. Then we danced our first dance to ‘Better Together’ by Jack Johnson before the DJ took us through the rest of the night with our personalised playlist. My highlight was the ceremony. Although it was short and I was a nervous wreck and couldn't get my words out, it was the main part I’d been dreaming about for so long. I was finally able to marry my best friend and it was definitely the best moment of my life."
My top tips…
“My top tip is not to rush things,” says Nichola. “From the early stages of planning to the big day, it's difficult to not get overwhelmed and lose track. It's really important to take moments out to reflect and take in what’s happening.”
Nichola’s Dream Team:
Photographer: Sadie Osborne (sadieosborne.co.uk)
Venue: Gorwell Farm (gorwellfarm.co.uk)
Florists: Branching Out Florists (branchingout-wallingford.co.uk)
Catering: Dorset Porkers (dorsetporkers.co.uk)
Evening Food: V. Dorset (vdorset.co.uk)
Ice Cream: Craig’s Diary (craigsfarmdairy.co.uk)
Musician: Owen Lister (facebook.com/OwenListerMusic)
DJ: Tony James Discos (tonyjamesdisco.co.uk)
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